PSU Summer Interns
- Organization: UNHCR - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
- Location: Washington D.C.
- Grade: Internship - Internship
- Closing Date:
Hardship Level (not applicable for home-based)H (no hardship)
Family Type (not applicable for home-based)
Staff Member / Affiliate Type
Target Start Date
April 2, 2023
Job Posting End Date
Background Information/Organizational Context:
Terms of Reference
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Regional Representation for the USA and the Caribbean, based in Washington D.C., seeks interns to assist staff in its Protection and Solutions Unit (PSU). For a description of UNHCR’s global work, please see http://www.unhcr.org
UNHCR’s Protection and Solutions Unit (PSU) serves asylum-seekers, refugees, and stateless persons in the territory of the United States (U.S.), promoting protection in law and policy, as well as engaging in U.S. resettlement policy and local integration issues. The PSU’s resettlement staff also support UNHCR’s Caribbean Unit by managing refugee resettlement operations out of the Caribbean states and territories. The PSU informs government officials, attorneys, and NGOs about international standards of refugee protection and protection for stateless persons. Staff regularly meets with partners to discuss U.S.-specific issues related to refugee protection and statelessness, provides comments on proposed legislation and regulations, submits amicus briefs on select legal issues, engages with the U.S. government to provide technical assistance or advice to promote consistency between U.S. policy and international standards, and conducts training and public presentations to a range of audiences. Throughout all these endeavors, UNHCR maintains close communication with government partners in a range of U.S. agencies to ensure that our cooperative relationship is maintained.
A central part of UNHCR’s work in the U.S. is to provide information on the laws, policies, and procedures for seeking protection in the United States to asylum-seekers, NGOs, attorneys. In this context, the PSU team maintains a detention center hotline, through which detained protection-seekers can contact UNHCR with requests for assistance. Protection-seekers and other persons of concern can also contact the PSU Individual Case team with requests for assistance through email, letter and voicemail modalities.
The Resettlement Team of the PSU works primarily in three areas including: identifying, interviewing, and submitting for resettlement refugees out of the Northern Caribbean region; U.S. resettlement policies impacting global resettlement; and U.S. policy regarding refugees resettled in the U.S.
PSU is recruiting interns to support UNHCR’s work in the Individual Case (IC) Team and the Resettlement Team. Interns working within the Individual Case Team will focus on responding to requests for information and assistance through the range of PSU communication modalities. Interns working with the Resettlement Team will focus on conducting protection assessment interviews with persons of concern located within the Northern Caribbean region, primarily in the Dominican Republic, researching country of origin information and relevant laws of third countries, and preparing cases for resettlement interviews and submission.
Duties and Responsibilities:
• Answer and respond to individual queries from asylum seekers, refugees, and other persons of concern to UNHCR, primarily through the Detention Hotline, but also through email, letter and voicemail communication;
• Conduct interviews in Spanish with refugees in the Caribbean to obtain basic protection information;
• Conduct Country of Origin and other research to support individual asylum cases;
• Provide counseling on individual resettlement queries from congressional offices, NGOs and resettlement agencies through writing to UNHCR country offices;
• Observe and report on relevant meetings and conferences with government agencies and various NGOs working in the field;
• Open and maintain individual case files in UNHCR’s case management data;
• Conduct other projects as needed to further assist persons of concern to UNHCR.
Minimum Qualifications Required:
• Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, or J.D. degree, either obtained or in-process (assignments may vary depending on intern’s background).
• Strong interest in refugee rights, international relations, human rights, and humanitarian response.
• General technological proficiency a plus.
• Ability to multi-task and prioritize with minimal supervision. Attention to detail required.
• English language (fluency required); Fluency in Spanish (preferred for IC team, required for resettlement team); Fluency in French (preferred for the resettlement team). Additional language skills highly desirable.
• The selected candidate must provide proof of vaccination against Covid-19 with WHO approved vaccine.
Standard Job Description
Other informationThis position doesn't require a functional clearance