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Democracy, Human Rights, Refugees: Associate Refugee Status Determination (RSD) Officer: Bangkok, Thailand

Application Deadline: January 27th 2015

Applications must be emailed to by 11:59 p.m. Eastern StandardTime on the date indicated in order to be considered. Thank you.

How to Apply:

Please note that PRM-sponsored JPO positions are open to U.S. Citizens only.

Applicants must submit a completed United Nations Personal History form (UN P-11) via email to by the deadline noted above. The UN P-11 form is available for download from the UNHCR website at PRM will accept the UN P-11 form without a signature. If desired, you may also submit a resume or curriculum vitae and letter of interest. Please specify the position for which you are applying in the Subject line of the email (i.e. Associate Protection Officer – Kabul, AFGHANISTAN). You must send a separate email and application for each position for which you are qualified and wish to be considered. For more information, please see the Frequently Asked Questions on the PRM website.

PRM Notes:

• For more information about UNHCR’s operations at this post, please visit the UNHCR website at

• University Degree in Law, political science, international relations or another related field. Advanced degree strongly preferred for participation in the JPO program.

• Minimum 4 years (2 years with advanced University degree) of relevant professional job experience, preferably in the area of refugee protection, human rights or international humanitarian law, including at least 1 year of experience working directly with procedures and principles related to RSD.

• Strong working knowledge of a second UN language (French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, or Russian) in addition to English is highly desirable for participation in the JPO program.

• The JPO job description and related information attached are provided by UNHCR.

• JPO contracts are initially issued for one (1) year and then renewed. American JPOs are expected to serve a complete (2) two-year JPO term.

Associate RSD Officer (JPO)

Bangkok, Thailand

Job Description (JPO)


Title: Associate RSD Officer (JPO)

Sector: Protection Unit

Location: Bangkok, Thailand

Duration of the assignment: 1 Year renewable (total of 2 years)


Supervisor: Ms. Mari Sveen, RSD Officer

Content and methodology of the supervision:

The Associate RSD Officer will work under the overall supervision of the Senior Protection Officer, and under the direct supervision of the RSD Officer. The RSD Officer will supervise and provide technical support/guidance to the incumbent for planning purposes, daily activities and ensure timely review, feedback and evaluation of the work, as set out in the “duties and responsibilities” below.


• Stay abreast of legal, political, security and other developments which impact on the protection environment, and in particular, on protection delivery through RSD.

• Assist in the development of the RSD strategy of the operation and in the annual planning exercise.

• Contribute to the development and enhancement of regional and global RSD standards and policies.

• Assist in the supervision and oversight of RSD and RSD-related activities to promote full compliance with written Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

• Review and endorse RSD decisions and provide appropriate feedback and guidance to RSD staff.

• Conduct RSD interviews and draft RSD Assessments in accordance with applicable standards and guidelines.

• Maintain accurate and up-to date records and data related to all work on individual cases.

• Provide counselling to asylum seekers and refugees.

• Assist in designing, implementing and revising operation-specific SOPs for all aspects of the RSD operation in accordance with applicable standards and policies.

• Assist in preventing and identifying fraud in RSD through oversight, advice and guidance to UNHCR staff, partners and persons of concern.

• Assist in monitoring RSD trends and in compiling and analysing RSD statistics related to RSD case processing to identify and respond to developments or issues impacting on the efficiency or quality of RSD decision-making, and to propose remedial measures.

• Conduct research on country of origin information (COI) and legal issues related to RSD and assist in maintaining a local repository of relevant information, guidelines and standards accessible to RSD staff in the operation.

• Assist in developing and maintaining processes to ensure that persons of concern, Government authorities and partners have accurate information on the RSD procedures, including UNHCR standards, policy and practice.

• Assist in initiatives to advocate with and support Government authorities and legal partners to establish and strengthen fair and efficient RSD procedures and RSD decision-making.

• Regularly assess training needs of UNHCR staff engaged in RSD and related activities and provide on-going training and coaching on legal and procedural RSD issues.

• Support the development and implementation of RSD training initiatives for Government authorities and legal partners.


• UNHCR’s RSD procedures are implemented in accordance with relevant UNHCR standards and policies, including policies related to age, gender, and diversity mainstreaming (AGDM).

• Persons of concern have fair and transparent access to the RSD procedures.

• Fraud in the RSD process is identified and appropriately addressed.


• Approve decisions to accelerate RSD processing for cases meeting established criteria.

• Enforce compliance by UNHCR staff engaged in RSD and related activities with UNHCR standards, policies and operation-specific SOPs for all aspects of the RSD operation.

• Decide and endorse RSD decisions.


Essential minimum qualifications and professional experience required:

• University Degree in Law, political science, international relations or another related field.

• Minimum 4 years (2 years with advanced University degree) of relevant professional job experience, preferably in the area of refugee protection, human rights or international humanitarian law.

• Minimum 1 year of experience working directly with procedures and principles related to RSD.

• Knowledge of International Refugee Law and Human Rights Law and ability to apply the relevant legal principles.

• Strong research and analytical skills.

• Excellent oral and written communication skills.

• Excellent knowledge of English and working knowledge of another UN language.

Desirable qualifications and competencies:

• Experience as a decision-maker in UNHCR or Government RSD procedures is highly desirable.

• Experience in counselling asylum seekers or refugees.

• Experience in working with vulnerable or traumatized individuals.

• Completion of UNHCR's RSD Learning Programme, COI Learning Programme, Protection Learning Programme.

• Experience in supervising and in providing training or coaching, guidance or advice to staff.

• Knowledge of another UN language.

REQUIRED COMPETENCIES, which illustrate behaviors that are essential to achieving deliverables described above, and that are critical to successful performance. All jobs require the staff to abide to the Values and Core competencies of UNHCR.

- Empowering and Building Trust (M001)

- Managing Performance (M002)

- Judgement and Decision Making (M003)

- Analytical Thinking (X001)

- Planning and Organizing (X005)

- Stakeholder Management (X008)


Training components:

The incumbent will have occasion to participate in internal training/ capacity building activities organized by the UNHCR Bangkok. S/he will have access to apply to learning programs organized by the UNHCR Global Learning Centre.

Learning elements:

The incumbent will gain a comprehensive understanding and knowledge of international refugee law and related legal instruments, including a thorough understanding of the UNHCR RSD Procedures and Standards. S/he will strengthen her legal- and analytical skills, as well as writing skills, and will strengthen his/her research skills, including on legal matters and country of origin information.

The incumbent will gain a solid understanding and experiences in interviewing techniques and working with interpreters through conducting RSD interviews.

S/he will further gain experiences in organizing and facilitating trainings on RSD related matters.

Finally, the incumbent will gain supervisory responsibility and management skills.

It is expected that the incumbent will acquire these sets of skills and competencies during the assignment (2 years).


UNHCR Thailand includes the Branch Office in Bangkok as well as 04 field offices.

There is a total of 131 staff, including 59 regular national staff; 14 regular international; 04 Junior Professional Officers; 08 international UN Volunteers; 04 international UNOPS staff; 40 national UNOPS staff; 02 secondees - ICMC (2) and 01 secondee – (DRC)

The Senior Protection Officer is overseeing 05 units, including the RSD Unit, Protection and Community Services Unit, Resettlement Unit and the Statelessness Unit. The RSD Unit is headed by a RSD Officer who oversees registration and RSD activities. The RSD unit is composed of 01 national Associate RSD Officer, 01 Protection Associate, 01 Senior Protection Assistant and 08 affiliated staff, including 02 Associate Eligibility Officers (IUNV), 01 Associate RSD Officer (DRC), 05 Eligibility Associates (local UNOPS). The Registration team is composed of 01 Assistant IT Officer (Refugee System), 01 Protection Assistant and 05 Registration Assistants (UNOPS). Many of the above mentioned poste are due to expire in the end of December 2014 and will not be renewed due to funding constraints.

Thailand is not a signatory to the 1951 Convention/1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees and there is no domestic legislation relating to asylum and protection of refugees. In the absence of domestic asylum law, all aliens who enter or live in Thailand without proper documentation are violating immigration law and are subject to arrest, prosecution, detention and deportation regardless of their status as asylum-seekers or recognized refugees under UNHCR’s Statute. For the border camp population, a set of administrative rules found under Article 17 of the 1979 Immigration Act (amended in 1992) provides a legal framework to allow for their temporary stay in camps, preserving a limited asylum space. While refugees in the camps are permitted to remain temporarily in Thailand, however, they continue to be without a legal status, per se.

In the absence of national laws on asylum, executive bodies of the Royal Thai Government (RTG) dealing with national security matters, such as the National Security Council (NSC), the military, and the Ministry of Interior (MOI), play a significant role in the formulation of refugee policy. Without a legal framework on asylum and refugee protection, the approach adopted lends itself to ad hoc arrangements swayed by the particular circumstances and nationality of persons concerned, as well as, the prevailing political climate

Myanmar nationals form, by far, the largest group of “Displaced Persons” (refugees) in Thailand. They have resided in nine “temporary shelters” (camps) in four provinces close to the Thailand-Myanmar border since 1984. The Royal Thai Government, through the Provincial Admission Boards (PABs) in these provinces, has undertaken ‘screening” for Myanmar asylum-seekers seeking registration in the camps.

In the capital, in the absence of government mechanism, UNHCR has continued to undertake refugee status determination for non-Myanmar asylum-seekers by virtue of its statutory mandate. The urban caseload is diverse and complex comprising of asylum seekers from more than forty nationalities not least due to the attraction of migrants from around the world to Bangkok as a regional transportation hub. Resettlement to third countries being the most viable durable solution for refugees in the country and lenient visa regulations also add to the popularity of Bangkok as a destination for those seeking asylum including those who fail to reach their original destinations.

UNHCR Thailand has observed a dramatic increase in the number of asylum applications since 2012 especially from Pakistan, Syria (including Palestinian ex-Syria), Somalia and Vietnam. The increasing number of asylum applications has impacted on the Office’s capacity to conduct efficient and timely RSD for the urban caseload. The long waiting period for RSD causes grave concern of increased risk of arrest and detention as asylum seekers are considered as illegal migrants if they do not have a valid visa.

UNHCR Bangkok will continue to ensure that individuals of non-Myanmar nationalities have access to UNHCR processes and procedures; that the individual can be timely registered and issued with documentation; and have access to fair, efficient and high quality refugee status determination adjudication. UNHCR Bangkok will aim to reduce its backlog of cases/ individuals pending first instance interview and decision and to ensure timely access to appeals. The Office will continue to work with other legal actors, including non-governmental organizations who provide legal representation in Bangkok to enhance the quality of RSD processes and procedures.

Bangkok, capital city is classified by ICSC category a family duty station with security phase zero. Bangkok has a tropical monsoonal climate with 3 distinctive seasons (cool, hot and rainy). The temperature does not drop below 20 degree Celsius in the cool season and can go up to 40 in hot season.

Different kinds of accommodation are available in Bangkok, though it is most common to stay in apartment buildings. The cost will vary depending on individual wishes and requirements as well as location.

Transport options include the sky train (BTS), metro/underground system (MRT), riverboats, taxi, bus and motorbike.

There are different phone networks available (fixed and mobile) and internet access is easy (it can be installed at home and there are also many internet cafes and public WIFI access points). The electricity network is 220 volts.


There are play groups in Bangkok, but they are not institutionalized. A mother with young children will set up an informal group, which will be disbanded when the children enroll in school. It is best to ask around once you arrive.

There are several English-speaking kindergartens scattered around Bangkok. Two that have been favoured by staff members in the past are Magic Years Pre-school and the Early Learning Centre. Most of the international schools also have kindergarten sections, but the fees are on a par with their primary and secondary levels. A list of kindergartens is available on the website of the Bangkok Mothers & Babies International (BAMBI) -

Most international schools are registered with the International Schools Association of Thailand, as are a number of national schools such as the Korean International School and the Thai-Japanese Association School. Details of the international schools can be found on the International Schools Association's web site:

Universities in Thailand offer bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees, but the majority are in the Thai language. A listing of public and private universities and institutions can be found on the web site:


There are several excellent private and public hospitals in Bangkok, some with English-speaking doctors trained in the United States and the United Kingdom. Most of the hospitals have dental units, eye clinics as well as the usual Ear, Nose and Throat departments.

July 2014