Associate Legal Officer

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Ottawa, Canada

Skill Required:, Media and CommunicationPolicy/ Advocacy and Campaign
Preferred Experience: 
1 to 3 Years
Closing Date for Applications: 
16th May, 2021

Job Description

The Associate Legal Officer reports to the Senior Legal Officer/Head of the Protection Unit. The Associate Legal Officer supports the UNHCR Office in its advocacy work relating to refugee protection. External contacts include a broad range of officials from national and international institutions, civil society and NGOs 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.Functional Statement:

Accountability (key results that will be achieved)

  •  Promotion of protection principles and international law as relevant to persons of concern is undertaken.
  •  Legal and policy analysis is conducted, advice and guidance is provided in line with protection standards and with UNHCR¿s global, regional and country level priorities.


  •  Contribute to the work of the Protection Unit in line with its work plan and the protection strategy for the Office. Work in collaboration with other UNHCR Canada units and HQ as required.
  •  Remain abreast of current domestic legal issues and policies impacting persons of concern. Assist in the preparation of legal advice, position papers, guidance and updates on legal and operational issues relating to refugees and refugee claimants in Canada consistent with UNHCR policies and international standards.
  •  Maintain productive working relations with Government authorities, and advocate for asylum policies and measures that accord with international standards.
  •  Collaborate closely with stakeholders such as the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) on priorities such as Refugee Status Determination and Detention.
  •  Liaise with relevant members of civil society, including lawyers, academics, and NGOs to further UNHCR's outreach and partnerships relating to the protection of refugees in Canada.
  •  Prepare statistical updates and reports relating to persons of concern to UNHCR in Canada.
  •  Assess individual cases as required, for possible UNHCR intervention.
  •  Perform other duties as required.

Essential Minimum Qualifications and Experience:

  •  Undergraduate degree (equivalent of a BA/BS), preferably with focus on human rights, refugee law and/or international humanitarian law plus minimum at least 3 years of related professional experience. Graduate degree (equivalent of a Master¿s) plus 2 years or Doctorate degree (equivalent of a PhD) plus 1 year of previous relevant work experience may also be accepted.
  •  Excellent legal research, analytical and drafting skills.
  • Excellent knowledge of English.
  •  Knowledge and experience in Canadian refugee law are strongly desired.
  •  Previous experience working in the field of refugee protection internationally is an asset.
  •  Experience working in or knowledge of the current context in detention, refugee status determination, and refugee population movements from Latin America are an asset.


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