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Internship - RSD Section, Division of International Protection in Geneva, Switzerland

Geneva (Switzerland)

  • Organization: UNHCR - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Location: Geneva (Switzerland)
  • Grade: Internship
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Legal - International Law
    • Protection Officer (Refugee)
    • Refugee rights and well-being
  • Closing Date: 2021-01-27

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Terms of Reference
RSD Section Internship
Division of International Protection

Title: RSD Section Intern
Duty Station: Geneva, Switzerland
Duration: 12 Weeks
Contract Type: Internship
Start date: 1 March 2021 until 31 May 2021

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is offering a full-time internship within the Refugee Status Determination (RSD) section of the Division of International Protection (DIP) at UNHCR Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
Established in December 1950, UNHCR is a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for asylum seekers, refugees, returnees, internally displaced communities and stateless people. Every year, millions of men, women and children are forced to flee their homes to escape conflict and persecution. UNHCR currently operates in over 130 countries, using its long expertise to protect and care for millions.

Organisational context
The internship will be placed with UNHCR¿s RSD Section, within the Division of International Protection (DIP). The RSD Section is responsible for overseeing and providing strategic support to UNHCR¿s RSD mandate operations worldwide. It is also responsible for drafting UNHCR¿s country-specific policy guidance documents (eligibility guidelines, protection consideration, return advisories, etc.), which are used by States and by UNHCR staff to guide decisions on claims for refugee status. The Section also maintains Refworld (, the world¿s leading platform for information that supports refugee decisions.

The position
The intern will assist with research and analytic assignments as well as administrative tasks related to the management of the knowledge-sharing platforms that the RSD Section maintains, including Refworld.

The intern will work directly with the team that produces country guidance and which commissions external reports on Country of Origin Information (COI). As such, the intern will be expected to contribute to drafting, analysis, and research related both to UNHCR country guidance and for use in formulating terms of reference for external COI reports.

Interns are supervised by the Senior Research and Information Officer but may report to different members of the Section in relation to specific tasks.

Duties and responsibilities
1. Research and drafting:
¿ Conduct country-specific research on the human rights situation in countries of origin;
¿ Perform detailed editing and formatting, and provide comments on draft documents;
¿ Engage with the rest of the Section to determine COI and country guidance priorities, including exploring possible areas of research or production;
¿ Assisting with summarizing COI information, including drafting COI summaries and footnotes for RSD section use.
2. Information management:
¿ Contribute to the management and strategic expansion of knowledge-sharing platforms on RSD, in particular the RSD Practitioners¿ Platform (RSD PP, an internal UNHCR Community of Practice for RSD staff) and the Global Case Law Collection Project, as well as to UNHCR¿s strategic redesign of Refworld (;
¿ Provide research in response to queries from field offices related to specific caseloads and COI.
3. Attending and taking notes at meetings along with relevant UNHCR staff (e.g. Human Rights Council, UN Treaty Body sessions)
4. Any other tasks, upon request, including administrative duties.

Minimum qualifications required
In order to be considered for an internship, candidates must meet the following eligibility criteria:
¿ Be either a recent graduate (having completed their studies within one year of applying) or a current student in a graduate/undergraduate school programme from a university or higher education facility accredited by UNESCO;  and
¿ Have completed at least two years of undergraduate studies in a field relevant or of interest to the work of UNHCR.

Desirable qualifications and skills:
¿ Have a good understanding of human rights reporting and research methods;
¿ Have experience with or knowledge of Refuge Status Determination (RSD) procedures;
¿ Understand the role of Country of Origin Information (COI) in RSD;
¿ Have excellent communication skills with strong interpersonal and negotiation skills;
¿ Have good experience using the Microsoft Office suite (Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint);
¿ Demonstrate a genuine desire to learn and develop;
¿ Be highly organised and have a superior level of attention to detail;
¿ Be able to multi-task and to prioritize appropriately;
¿ Be a flexible team-player.

Additional positive factors include:
¿ Experience drafting COI reports or using COI in an RSD procedure;
¿ Language skills (French, Spanish, Russian, or Arabic) are useful but not a requirement for internships with the RSD Section.

It is a full-time role with working hours starting from 9.00am to 6:00pm Monday to Friday (40 hours per week). The successful candidate will be either home-based or with the team in the Geneva, Switzerland. The location will be determined prior to the start of the internship, and is dependent upon the conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic in both the applicant¿s home country and at the duty station.

Allowance: Interns who do not receive financial support from an outside party will receive an allowance to partially help to cover the cost of food, local transportation and living expenses.

The UNHCR workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages and opinions. UNHCR seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce. Applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction on grounds of race, colour, sex, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.

UNHCR does not charge a fee at any stage of its recruitment process (application, interview, meeting, travelling, processing or training.

We welcome applications from candidates with a refugee or stateless background. Please note that the closing date for this internship advertisement is Wednesday 27 January 2021 (midnight Geneva time).
We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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