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Individual Consultant (3 months)

Panama (United States of America)

  • Organization: UNHCR - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Location: Panama (United States of America)
  • Grade: International Consultant - Internationally recruited Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
  • Closing Date: 2021-06-22

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Office: UNHCR Regional Bureau for the Americas

Title of project: Analysis and identification or risks linked to double affectation and organized crime on refugees and migrants from Venezuela

Purpose of project: Document and analyze the impact of the double affectation of refugees and migrants from Venezuela, by armed actors, and the "modus operandi" of organized crime in the region. A better understanding of the double affectation will allow to promote access to existing protection services and mechanisms (access to justice, asylum systems) in order to mitigate the impact of  acts of violence registered against the refugee and migrant population of Venezuela and to increase institutional capacities   to respond to these situations.

Location: Home-based

Duration of the assignment: 3 months

Condition: Full-time (40 hours per week)

General Background of Project or Assignment:

In May 2020, and within the framework of a monitoring session on the situation of returns in the region between the national sectors of Colombia and Ecuador, the situation of double affectation and the absence of protection alternatives for refugees and migrants from Venezuela became visible: i) located in areas of Colombia and /or Ecuador with the presence of  illegal armed groups, ii) victims of recruitment, use and / or linkage, iii) victims of abuse, labor and / or sexual exploitation,  iv) victims of forced internal displacement, v) victims of massacres, homicides and femicides, detentions, etc.
Likewise, the national sectors reported situations of signaling and stigmatization of refugees and migrants from Venezuela as "carriers of COVID-19" in border areas with direct threats by illegal armed groups through pamphlets.

In a context of convergence of factors such as illicit economic sources of income and the presence of illegal armed groups;  refugees and migrants from Venezuela were identified for the first time by the Ombudsman's Office of Colombia as one of the populations at the highest level of risk in the Early Warning of 01 June 2019 (No. 23).
In Ecuador and Brazil as well as some countries in the Caribbean sub-region, cases have been reported of victims of organized crime networks among refugees and migrants from Venezuela  in contexts of sexual exploitation, illegal extraction of minerals,  labor exploitation with major obstacles in access to assistance and protection services, as well as in access to justice.
Limited access to regularization processes, social tensions, institutional crises added to a pre-electoral context in several countries of the region led to successive irregular movements of refugees and migrants from Venezuela that, with the closure of borders, increased their exposure to organized crime networks, noticeably  strengthened and expanded  during the pandemic. Hence, refugees and migrants have been dragged into  illegal economies, sexual and commercial exploitation, human trafficking and migrant smuggling with severe protection impacts that must be identified in order to define effective response routes to guarantee access to national and regional protection systems.

The understanding of  strategies adopted by organized crime networks and illegal armed groups will contribute to the prevention and mitigation of such risks, with the identification of other relevant actors in the region that could strengthen the work of the Sector/subsector; strengthen its technical capacity and contribute to the mobilization of available resources. It will also promote the consolidation of advocacy strategies by States, the international community, civil society  and the private sector, in order to ensure that the population that has been affected by these situations is effectively prioritized in the processes/mechanisms of assistance and protection.
This consultancy developed by the Sector in coordination with the Subsector on human trafficking and smuggling will be done in close coordination with the IACHR and the UNSpecial Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children , as agreed in the 2021 Work Plan.

Overall Purpose and Scope of Assignment:

Concise and detailed description of activities, including measurable outputs and delivery dates, impact indicators (what qualitative and quantitative results would be achieved upon completion of individual contract), performance indicators (time lines, value of the service rendered in relation to the cost, timeliness) and work plan:
Document the impact of the double affectation, the illegal armed groups and the "modus operandi" of organized crime in the region to promote access to existing protection services and mechanisms (access to justice, asylum systems) in order to mitigate the impact of the acts of violence registered against the refugee and migrant population of Venezuela and to raise institutional capacities and the population to respond to these situations. The consultancy will aim to:
i) Identify, map and systematize the trends, patterns and areas with the highest level of security risk/impact in some countries in Latin America and the Caribbean;
ii) Analyze the typologies of risk/types of incidents, crimes and the relationship between them and the effects they produce on refugees and migrants from Venezuela, with a differentiated and intersectional approach, both in urban and rural areas, as well as in border areas;
iii) generate evidence to position the discussion on double  affectation and organized crime in national and regional agendas, including the dynamics of illicit income, in order to identify key actors that can influence the development of sustainable measures for risk mitigation, prevention and responses, in addition to promoting the mobilization of resources for refugees and migrants from Venezuela directly affected;
iv) evaluate the possibility of consolidating multidisciplinary and transnational teams for the early warning of cases of trafficking and other crimes, with special attention to the prevention axis,
v) link the affected refugee and migrant population of Venezuela with the monitoring mechanisms existing within the framework of international standards/instruments, as well as national mechanisms such as national human rights institutions.
vi) Strengthen the sector's response strategy at the regional level, guaranteeing both access to assistance services and identification, referral, and access to asylum systems,
vii) promote strategic litigation processes that strengthen the jurisprudential frameworks in the region in favor of the protection of the right to life, freedom, autonomy, security and physical integrity, and the application of the principle of non-criminalization,
viii) identify, in coordination with national sectors, strategies for risk mitigation, identification/referral of cases and access to specialized services, ensuring coordinated monitoring between countries, including, the articulation of case registration systems (databases),
ix) design strategies for the mitigation of impacts in host communities to develop comprehensive and inclusive response actions, as well as articulation with existing official mechanisms (e.g. Resolutions 1612 and 1325),
x) define the advocacy strategy at the regional level in coordination with key actors, at the regional and national levels,
xi) identify possible gaps in the routes of identification and referral of victims and survivors of the different acts of violence to the  protection services; including measures that take into account the EGD approach in line with existing recommendations (including those of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons A/HCR/38/45) and vulnerability indicators for each population group.
In order to achieve these objectives, the consultant will deliver:
¿ Typology of risks identified in contexts of armed conflict and organized crime (including illicit income) and gaps in the institutional response.
¿ Regional report of analysis of profiles, trends, practices, and strategies, with a differentiated and intersectional approach.
¿ Recommendations for the mitigation of the identified risks, the articulation of the institutional response and the follow-up and monitoring mechanisms for access to assistance and protection systems in the region.


Required level, qualifications and work experience:

Qualification and experience required (degree required, years of work experience, field of expertise, language required):
(i) Degree required: The contractor must have a bachelor's degree in law and postgraduate studies (master's) in social sciences/ international affairs/law.
(ii) Years of experience: A minimum of 10 years work experience with national and / or international organizations, or non-governmental organizations (NGOs) related to the subject. The persons must have research and training experience in the field of human rights and international/domestic law.
(iii) Field of expertise: specific needs, human rights and international law.
(iv) Language: Excellent level of Spanish essential. Please note that this position is offered under Individual Consultancy contract.

Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed and might be requested to sit for a test. Only short-listed candidates will be notified. No late applications will be accepted.


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.) Closing date:

The closing date for submission of applications is 22 June, 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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