Project Description: Refugee Legal Aid Program The Refugee Legal Aid Program (RLAP) provides advice and representation to refugees seeking recognition by UNHCR through refugee status determination procedures in Egypt and assists refugees in accessing resettlement to safe third countries. RLAP is seeking a RSD Legal Officer to assist vulnerable refugees in their RSD process.
Role Under the supervision of the RSD Coordinator, the RSD Legal Officer is responsible for the provision of legal advice and representation to urban refugees in matters related to RSD procedures. This includes: assessment of initial requests for assistance; the screening of refugee cases to identify those of heightened vulnerability, specific need, or strategic importance; preparation of detailed written statements addressing accounts of persecution in countries of origin; and drafting legal briefs in support of refugee claims in appeal and reopening procedures. The RSD Legal Officer is also expected to contribute to advocacy efforts regarding the urban refugee population and to supervise and train volunteer staff. The RSD Legal Officer is a member of a team of approximately 25 legal staff and reports to the RLAP RSD Coordinator.
Responsibilities All duties are carried out under the supervision of the RLAP RSD Coordinator.
Legal and Technical To develop and supervise the screening and intake of potential clients for representation in RSD matters. To provide general legal counseling and assistance to refugees regarding their applications for registration, protection, and RSD before UNHCR. To prepare clients for registration and RSD interviews and represent clients in such interviews as needed. To draft legal briefs and prepare witness declarations and other evidence in support of RSD appeals and reopening requests. To serve periodically as an on-call legal advisor, assisting clients by providing legal advice and assistance on a walk-in basis. To prepare and facilitate RSD preparation workshops and Know Your Rights trainings for refugee communities. To undertake country of origin research in support of individual claims and for general organizational research purposes and to maintain good working knowledge of the current political and social situations in the countries of origin of RLAP’s clients. To assess extra-legal client needs and refer to other StARS teams or external organizations as appropriate. To maintain good working knowledge of UNHCR’s RSD policies and procedures. To undertake comprehensive case management practices including maintaining and updating electronic databases and records for each client, and keeping detailed notes of all casework activities. To adhere to the Nairobi Code of Ethics, the StARS Policies and Procedures Manual, and the StARS Code of Conduct.
Programmatic To assist the RLAP RSD Coordinator in development and implementation of team policies and procedures. To assist the RLAP RSD Coordinator in conducting data and trends analysis of clients approaching RLAP for RSD related services. To assist the RLAP RSD Coordinator in conducting data and trends analysis of UNHCR’s Policies and Practices. To assist the RLAP RSD Coordinator in establishing written manuals and procedures for the different services provided by the RSD team. To build and maintain strong relationships with refugee communities in Cairo. To build and maintain relationships with psychosocial and education staff and operational partners.
Supervisory To assist the RLAP RSD Coordinator and RSD Legal Officers in conducting intensive one to two week training for new volunteers two to three times per year. To assist the RLAP RSD Coordinator in the development of supervision procedures and mechanisms. To assist the RLAP RSD Coordinator in the management of volunteer caseloads, and the provision of case specific advice. To engage proactively in promoting self-care among volunteers and other staff. To ensure high quality legal advice and representation and a refugee rights-based approach.
Finance/Administration To undergo probation and regular performance appraisals.
Communication/Reporting To communicate regularly with the RLAP RSD Coordinator, reporting on all major issues and developments in the field and within RLAP. To promote information-sharing within RLAP and StARS on all issues affecting the populations we serve. Other duties as assigned.
Qualifications & Experience The ideal candidate will be energetic, articulate, and comfortable interacting with diverse segments of society. She or he will have demonstrated a firm commitment to human rights and refugee issues.
Essential Qualifications English being the official language of UNHCR Cairo and StARS, the RLAP RSD Legal Officer must be fluent in oral and written English. Fluency in Arabic or a refugee language is an advantage. Master’s degree in a related field (international development, international law, development studies, Middle East Studies) OR a qualified lawyer in any jurisdiction (J. D. , LLB or equivalent) OR a minimum of one year of experience in representing refugees in the resettlement or RSD processes OR two years of experience providing direct representation to indigent people in any setting. Excellent legal research and drafting skills. Knowledge of UNHCR guidelines and procedures, especially resettlement criteria. Knowledge of the general protection situation and vulnerabilities of refugees in Egypt. A demonstrated commitment to and sensitivity toward vulnerable or displaced people. Ability to live and work in a fluid security environment. Proven experience drafting client affidavits and legal arguments. Ability to exercise sound legal judgment, well organized, self-motivated, and reliable. Demonstrated compassion for refugees and displaced people. Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing. Demonstrated ability to work in a team as well as individually. A positive attitude and sensitive manner when dealing with clients including a range of interviewing skills for dealing with challenging scenarios, particularly in advocating for survivors of violence, trafficking, torture, and SGBV.
Desirable Characteristics Experience designing and conducting trainings for non-technical audiences. Managerial experience or familiarity with volunteer oversight. Life and work experience in the Middle East or Egypt or with an urban refugee population