Assistant Legal Officer – UNHCR


Job Description

OrganizationUnited Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Job TitleAssistant Legal Officer – UNOPS – LICA 8
LocationEl Geneina, Sudan
Hardship LevelE
Job ID33520
Salary GradeNB
Family Location TypeNon-Family
Closing Date14th February 2022

Eligible Applicants

This Job Opening is available to eligible UNHCR staff members and external applicants.

Duties and Qualifications

Assistant Legal Officer

Organizational Setting and Work Relationships

The Darfur region of Sudan has suffered from protracted conflict since 2003, resulting in the internal displacement of approximately 2.1 million people. Within this context, West Darfur state has proven to be particularly volatile, with recent violence contributing to large-scale displacement in the state capital, El Geneina. As of August 2021, there were approximately 105,099 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in El Geneina town, the majority of whom were originally displaced from surrounding areas in 2003. The limbo in which IDPs in El Geneina have been living since 2003 has become untenable, and recent violence has caused many of these individuals to become secondarily displaced from their places of habitual residence in IDP camps/sites. Thus, the need to find a long-term solution, both for the IDPs and non-displaced communities, is now critical.

The state government of West Darfur has indicated that there are three potential options for durable solutions for IDPs living in El Geneina: (1) Local integration of IDP households; (2) Return and reintegration of IDPs to their areas of origin; and (3) Relocation of IDPs to alternative sites. Government counterparts are in dire need of support from UN Agencies, Funds, and Programmes (AFPs) to facilitate the above options and protect the rights of those displaced by conflict, particularly by securing their housing, land, and property (HLP) rights. Most IDPs do not hold titles to the land to which they have been displaced since 2003, which hinders their ability to locally integrate. At the same time, conflict in West Darfur is largely rooted in issues related to land usage, access, and ownership. Thus, in order to prevent the triggering of further violence, return or relocation of IDPs would have to take place with due consideration of the legalities and conflict dynamics surrounding the Housing, Land, and Property (HLP) rights of IDPs.

UNHCR Sudan is currently building on its peacebuilding and durable solutions programming in Darfur. Through its interventions, UNHCR Sudan intends to work across the humanitarian-development-peace nexus. Financed by the UN Peacebuilding Fund (PBF), a new project by UNHCR and partners will focus on supporting durable solutions in West Darfur, including through the implementation of social cohesion activities, the issuance of civil documentation, and the provision of HLP-related counselling and assistance.

The Assistant Legal Officer will be a member of the Protection team in the UNHCR Field Office (FO) in El Geneina, West Darfur, Sudan, and will report to the Protection Officer. The incumbent will support the implementation of the PBF project on durable solutions to internal displacement in West Darfur, and provide expertise on Housing, Land, and Property (HLP) rights within the framework of this project. In addition, the Assistant Legal Officer will assist the FO in ensuring that Persons of Concern are involved in making decisions that affect them, whether in accessing their rights or in identifying appropriate solutions to their problems. To achieve this, the incumbent will need to build and maintain effective interfaces with communities of concern and authorities, as well as protection and assistance partners.

All UNHCR staff members are accountable to perform their duties as reflected in their job description. They do so within their delegated authorities, in line with the regulatory framework of UNHCR which includes the UN Charter, UN Staff Regulations and Rules, UNHCR Policies and Administrative Instructions as well as relevant accountability frameworks. In addition, staff members are required to discharge their responsibilities in a manner consistent with the core, functional, cross-functional and managerial competencies and UNHCR¿s core values of professionalism, integrity and respect for diversity


  • Assist the Office in the planning, implementation, and monitoring of activities related to Housing, Land, and Property (HLP) rights, including interventions aimed at providing legal counselling and assistance to Persons of Concern and raising awareness on HLP.
  • Work closely with UN partner agencies and implementing partners, especially in regard to Housing, Land, and Property (HLP) related activities.
  • Conduct field visits and engage closely with local communities and project beneficiaries, including through focus group discussions and consultative meetings.
  • Stay abreast of the domestic legal issues and pertinent laws regarding Persons of Concern, with a specific focus on Housing, Land, and Property (HLP) rights, and advise the Office accordingly.
  • Assist in the preparation of legal advice and drafting of position papers and guidelines on pertinent legal and operational issues.
  • Contribute to advocacy towards proper interpretation of law and doctrine as well as in the development of standards of protection.
  • Consistently apply international and national law and UNHCR policies and standards.
  • Liaise and intervene with local authorities on the legal issues pertaining to Persons of Concern.
  • Participate in meetings within UNHCR and with external counterparts, as required.
  • May act as interpreter during meetings with authorities, if required.
  • Perform other related duties as required.

Minimum Qualifications

Education & Professional Work Experience
Years of Experience / Degree Level

1 year relevant work experience with Undergraduate degree; or no experience with Graduate/Doctorate degree

Field(s) of Education
Law; Human Rights Law; International Humanitarian Law; or other relevant field.

(Field(s) of Education marked with an asterisk* are essential)

Certificates and/or Licenses
UNHCR Protection Learning Programme

Relevant Job Experience
Demonstrated knowledge of Housing, Land, and Property (HLP) issues in Darfur.
Previous experience in legal research, analysis, and drafting.
Knowledge and understanding of IDP context.
Strong government and community engagement skills.
Excellent interpersonal, analytical, and organizational skills.
Excellent negotiation and relationship management skills, with the ability to proactively problem solve and find solutions.
Strong understanding of gender mainstreaming and gender-related issues.
Completion of UNHCR learning programmes on protection would be an asset or any other equivalent external courses.

Functional Skills
*IT-Microsoft Office Productivity Software
*MS-Drafting, Documentation, Data Presentation
*LE-Legal Research;
*LE-Draft legal opinions;

Language Requirements
Fluency in English and Arabic is essential.

Competency Requirements;

All jobs at UNHCR require six core competencies and may also require managerial competencies and/or cross-functional competencies. The six core competencies are listed below.

Core Competencies
Organizational Awareness
Teamwork & Collaboration
Commitment to Continuous Learning
Client & Result Orientation

Managerial Competencies
Empowering and Building Trust

Cross-Functional Competencies
Analytical Thinking
Policy Development and Research
Political Awareness

All UNHCR workforce members must individually and collectively, contribute towards a working environment where each person feels safe, and empowered to perform their duties. This includes by demonstrating no tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse, harassment including sexual harassment, sexism, gender inequality, discrimination and abuse of power.

As individuals and as managers, all must be proactive in preventing and responding to inappropriate conduct, support ongoing dialogue on these matters and speaking up and seeking guidance and support from relevant UNHCR resources when these issues arise.
Closing Date
The closing date for this UNOPS position is 14 February 2022.

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