Organizational/ Operational Context:
Afghan refugees constitute one of the largest protracted displacement crises of our time. The people of Afghanistan have suffered from over 40 years of conflicts. The region remains in flux; and return movements have been interspersed with waves of emigration, sporadic flows of refugees, and exponential internal displacement particularly in the recent past leading up to 15 August. The recent imposition of foreign asset freeze has paralyzed the banking system and heavily impacted on the national and local economy, which has already been hit by stagnation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Community resilience has been further weakened as many people face limited access to basic services. Limited coping mechanisms pushed millions of vulnerable people further into poverty, with potential implications for population movements within the region and further afield. Hundreds of thousands remain further afield, notably in Germany, other European Union Member States and Turkey.
UNHCR has stayed and delivered in the past tumultuous period in Afghanistan on the basis of the humanitarian imperative. UNHCR will continue providing humanitarian assistance to Internally Displace Persons (IDPs) in close coordination and collaboration with partners. UNHCR is the lead agency for Protection and ES/NFI (Emergency Shelter and Non-Food Item) clusters, providing technical advice and ensuring humanitarian response coordination for the respective clusters. As of today, over 630,000 persons have been internally displaced in Afghanistan since the beginning of 2021. Many of them fled from escalated fighting and violence without having prepared for their departure, requiring emergency life-saving assistance including protection and shelters. Since 15 August, some IDP families have started returning home. While continuing emergency response to the IDP situation, UNHCR is also assisting those who opt to return and rebuild their lives linking with ongoing protection activities including Community-Based Protection Monitoring (CBPM) and resilience activities especially through PARR (Priority Areas of Return and Reintegration).
Between 2002 and 2020 an estimated 7 million Afghans have returned to Afghanistan, with more than 5.2 million being refugees who have voluntarily repatriated with UNHCR’s assistance. Full, explicit, and impactful inclusion of returning refugees into national development planning and programming is essential to enable their sustainable reintegration which will in turn solidify and fortify the broader stabilization efforts. Reflecting the deteriorated security situation in the recent past, UNHCR has issued a non-return advisory for Afghanistan, calling for a ban on forced return of Afghan nationals, including asylum seekers who have had their asylum claims rejected.
There are currently 72,445 refugees in Afghanistan. Most of this group were displaced from Pakistan to Afghanistan in 2014 and settled in areas of Khost and Paktika provinces. A small number (approximately 380 people) are residing in urban areas of Kabul and other cities. Refugees constitute one of the most vulnerable populations in the country. They face significant legal challenges due to the fact that that the National Law on Asylum still has not been enacted.
UNHCR provides international protection and finds solutions to the refugee situation in Afghanistan building upon the ongoing consultations within the context of the Support Platform for the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees (SSAR) and the Global Compact on Refugees. These include the Inaugural Meeting of the Core Group of the SSAR Support Platform (7 October 2020), the 7th Meeting of the SSAR Quadripartite Steering Committee (1 October 2020), and the High-Level Meeting on the SSAR Support Platform (6 July 2020).
In complex humanitarian emergencies and natural disasters where UNHCR is designated as the Protection Cluster Lead Agency under the Cluster Approach, UNHCR performs a dedicated coordination, strategy development and advocacy function through the positions of P5/P4 Protection Cluster Coordination Officer and the supporting positions of P3 Protection Cluster Coordination Officer, P2 Associate Protection Cluster Coordination Officer and/or P1 Assistant Protection Cluster Coordination Officer.
The Assistant Protection Cluster Coordination Officer normally reports directly to a higher-grade Protection Cluster Coordination Officer. The UNHCR Representative has final accountability for the performance of UNHCR as Cluster Lead Agency.
The Assistant Protection Cluster Coordination Officer supports UNHCR to work within the framework of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) and the Cluster Approach. The position reinforces UNHCR Protection Cluster Lead Agency functions by providing support to the role of Cluster Coordinator in ensuring UNHCR’s leadership within a diverse protection community.
The Assistant Protection Cluster Coordination Officer is expected to support the work of the Protection Cluster through the provision of support in analysis, organization and reporting. This includes the provision of active support, as applicable, to sub-clusters or working groups of the Cluster which may be coordinated by other Agencies. As a result, the incumbent supports an inter-agency team in an environment that requires high standards of accountability, facilitation, negotiation and conflict resolution skills, in which respect the principles of partnership and collaboration are essential.
The Assistant Protection Cluster Coordination Officer supports the Protection Cluster Coordinator in Inter-Cluster Coordination mechanisms, for advocacy and facilitation of protection mainstreaming and cross-cutting issues of age, gender and diversity in the humanitarian response and early recovery activities.
The Assistant Protection Cluster Coordination Officer works closely with multi-functional Protection Cluster Support staff in the areas of data and information management, needs assessment, profiling, registration, reporting and advocacy.
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.