Nearly $4 billion needed to protect 41 million children from conflict and disaster

Tens of millions of children living through conflict, disaster and other emergencies in dozens of countries urgently need protection, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Tuesday, in an appeal for $3.9 billion to support its humanitarian work around the world.

Speaking in Geneva, the agency’s Director of Emergency Operations, Manuel Fontaine, warned that conflict is at a 30-year high: “There’s never been as much conflict in the world in the past 30 years as this year, so it is obviously a particular threat,” he said.

Amid countless reports of deadly attacks on civilians and places of shelter – both of which are prohibited under international law – Mr. Fontaine insisted that the long-held notion that children should be protected above all others is also being undermined.

He said it was “being accepted as a new normal of attacks on schools and hospitals and detention of children,” adding that increasingly, “children are being seen not only as victims, when they’ve been actually recruited by an armed group or used by a particular armed group, but also as a perpetrator and detained once they’ve been released by an armed group.”

A total of 59 countries are to benefit from UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children 2019 appeal, as the agency pursues its goal of providing 41 million children with safe water, food, education, health and protection.

Syria still number one concern

Child protection funding amounting to $385 million includes more than $120 million for youngsters affected by the Syria crisis, whose needs are estimated at $904 million – the largest part of UNICEF’s overall appeal.

“Nearly eight years after the conflict broke out, we still have 2.5 million Syrian children living as refugees in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey where demand for basic services such as health and education outstrip the capacity of institutions and infrastructure to actually respond,” Mr. Fontaine explained, noting that aid was needed for Syrian refugees and host communities.

Asked if he expected a significant number of Syrian families to return to the country, the UNICEF official replied that such a development was likely premature.

“There might be cases of some families, some children who decide they want to go back and we accompany them,” he said. “I think it’s a bit early right now to see how that’s going to happen in practice.”

Yemen: Two million children need food support

Needs in Yemen represent UNICEF’s second largest individual appeal, at just over $542 million, as a fragile and as-yet unimplemented ceasefire deal between Houthi militants and the internationally recognised government over the Red Sea port of Hudaydah continues to cause serious concern among humanitarians.

Nearly four years since conflict escalated, more than 22 million people need humanitarian assistance, including two million Yemeni children who will require food assistance this year. “Projections from 2019 are that nearly 400,000 children will suffer from life-threatening severe acute malnutrition in Yemen during the course of the year,” Mr. Fontaine warned.

 

Other emergency situations include the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a vast country facing a significant escalation of violence and armed conflict linked to terrible rights abuses. An ongoing outbreak of deadly Ebola virus in the east of the country has made matters worse.

“Violations against children include forced recruitment by armed groups and rampant sexual abuse,” the UNICEF official explained. “The insecurity has also seriously hindered the response to the Ebola outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri and aggravated disastrous malnutrition conditions across the country.”

According to the UNICEF appeal, an estimated 1.4 million children – over three times the number at risk in Yemen – are projected to require lifesaving treatment for severe acute malnutrition in 2019.

Venezuela’s adolescents in dire need of protection

Turning to Venezuela, where 40 people have died in recent clashes between demonstrators and security forces, according to UN human rights office, (OHCHR), Mr. Fontaine appealed for children to be protected.

“We are very concerned about the risk of violence,” he said. “We are obviously calling on everyone to protect children in this particular moment and adolescents in particular.”

The UNICEF official confirmed that an estimated three million people have left the troubled South American country in recent years, and that the agency is “working in the neighbouring countries, in Colombia, Brazil Ecuador and other countries to help the struggling host communities receiving families and children that are crossing the border”.

‘Toxic stress’ last longer than physical wounds

Faced with such unprecedented needs, UNICEF is appealing for funding that can be allocated where it is needed most urgently, not least to under-reported emergencies including the Lake Chad region, where nearly 21 million people in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Niger and Nigeria have been affected by ongoing conflicts.

Despite the challenges, Mr. Fontaine insisted that the agency has been successful in helping vulnerable children, not least those whose mental scars caused by the “toxic stress” of conflict often take longer than physical wounds to heal.

“At the same time, I would say we’ve also made great progress,” he insisted. “It is the behaviour of parties to conflict that actually creates this kind of situation. Should they give us more access, should they give us more ways to protect children and should they themselves respect the sanctity of the protection of children, things would actually go a lot better.”

Link between conflict and hunger worldwide, ‘all too persistent and deadly’, says new UN report

Conflict-driven hunger is getting worse, according to a snapshot of the eight places in the world with the highest number of people in need of emergency food support, and the link between them is “all too persistent and deadly” according to a new report delivered to the UN Security Council on Monday.

The new report released by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) follows on from a landmark Council resolution on preventing hunger in conflict zones, adopted in May.

The situation in Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan and Yemen worsened in the latter part of 2018 largely because of conflict, although Somalia, Syria and the Lake Chad Basin, saw some improvements in line with improved security. In total, around 56 million people are in need of urgent food and livelihood assistance across the eight theatres of war.

“This report clearly demonstrates the impact of armed violence on the lives and livelihoods of millions of men, women, boys and girls caught up in conflict,” wrote FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva states in the report’s foreword.

“I would strongly encourage you to keep in mind that behind these seemingly dry statistics are real people experiencing rates of hunger that are simply unacceptable in the 21st century,” he continued.

Violence against humanitarian workers is also on the rise, sometimes forcing organizations to suspend their life-saving operations, leaving those at risk, even more vulnerable. Every single country covered in the report, saw attacks carried out on aid workers and facilities last year.

“This report shows again the tragic link between conflict and hunger and how it still pervades far too much of the world. We need better and quicker access in all conflict zones, so we can get to more of the civilians who need our help. But what the world needs most of all is an end to the wars,” wrote WFP chief David Beasley in the foreword.

The Security Council’s Resolution 2417 condemns unequivocally, starvation as a tool of war. It calls on all parties to armed conflict to comply with their obligations under International Humanitarian Law to minimize the impact of military actions on civilians, including on food production and distribution, and to allow humanitarian access in a safe and timely manner to civilians needing lifesaving food, nutritional and medical assistance.

“The millions of men, women and children going hungry as a result of armed conflict will not be reduced unless and until these fundamental principles are followed”, states the joint UN agency report.

Here’s the outlook for some of the countries in the spotlight: 

* Yemen’s three-year war is a stark demonstration of the urgent need for a cessation of hostilities to address the world’s largest food security emergency.  In its country analysis, the report states that conflicting parties disregarded the protected status of humanitarian facilities and personnel.

* The Democratic Republic of the Congo had the second highest number (13 million) of acutely food insecure people, driven by a rise in armed conflict, during the second half of 2018.

* In South Sudan, after more than five years of war, the lean season is expected to start earlier than normal, according to the report, pushing those in need of urgent support up to more than 5 million between January and March, 2019.

* In the Lake Chad basin including north-eastern Nigeria, Chad’s Lac region and Niger’s Diffa, where extremist groups are highly active, a major deterioration in food security is projected during this year’s lean season beginning in June, and three million people are expected to face acute food insecurity.

* In Afghanistan, the percentage of rural Afghans facing acute food deficits is projected to reach 47 percent (or 10.6 million people) by March if urgent life-saving assistance is not provided.

* In the Central African Republic, armed conflict remained the main driver of hunger in 2018, with 1.9 million people experiencing a severe lack of food.

 

UNAMA
War-affected Kunduz civilians in Afghanistan receive humanitarian aid.

‘Humiliation was the worst’; Holocaust survivor at UN, asks world to act with ‘empathy and compassion’

More than seven decades ago in Auschwitz, Jewish teenager Marian Turski felt he “had no name, he had nothing, but a number” tattooed on his body. Speaking on Monday, at the annual Holocaust Memorial Ceremony, at United Nations Headquarters in New York, the 92-year-old called on the world to express renewed “empathy and compassion”.
UN Photo/Loey Felipe
Mr. Marian Turski, Holocaust Survivor and Chair of the Council of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw speaking at the United Nations Holocaust Memorial Ceremony on 28 January 2019.

Sharing his extraordinary story, he said that the worst part of surviving the Nazi death camps was not the extreme hunger, the coldness or the deteriorating living conditions, but “the humiliation, just because you were Jewish, you were treated not like a human being, you were treated like a louse, a bed bug, like a cockroach”, he told those who had gathered to commemorate.

Mentioning conflicts going on now in Ukraine, Sudan and Yemen, Mr. Turski said that when it came to giving advice today, “the most important words are: empathy and compassion”. He highlighted the importance of “protecting our children” from all catastrophes.

UN Photo/Loey Felipe
Inge Auerbacher shares her account as a child survivor of Teresienstadt, during the annual United Nations Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony.

His story followed testimony from Inge Auerbacher, who was liberated from a different camp, on the same day as Mr. Turski. She described how in the concentration camps “life was especially hard for children, for whom the most important words in their vocabulary were potatoes, bread and soup.”

Inge was born in Germany and spent three years between seven and 10 years of age in the Terezin (Theresienstadt) concentration camp in Czechoslovakia, where only around one per cent of its 15,000 children, survived.

Lamenting the rising wave of anti-Semitism today, Ms. Auerbacher pleaded for everyone across the world to “make good choices”.

“My hope, wish, and prayer, is for every child to live in peace without hunger and prejudice. The antidote to hatred is education, no more genocides, no more anti-Semitism”, she added.

Ms. Auerbacher also wrote the words to the song “Who am I”, which was performed during the UN Holocaust Remembrance ceremony by the PS22 elementary school Chorus of Staten Island, New York.

The role of education and history was emphasized by Sara Bloomfield, Director of the powerful United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, in Washington DC, who added that “after 2000 years of various forms of anti-Semitism, it doesn’t seem to be an eradicable disease, nor does hate”.

UN Photo/Loey Felipe
Sara J. Bloomfield, Director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, delivers her keynote speech during the annual United Nations Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony.

 

Drawing parallels between the horror of the Holocaust, and the present, Ms. Bloomfield added that it’s essential to “look back, to remember the victims lives and to remember that we failed them. We can’t fail them again by forgetting, by ignoring anti-Semitism and by not learning from our failures”, she concluded.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Day is marked each 27 January, when the notorious Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp was liberated by Allied troops, 74 years ago, in the final months of the World War Two.

Bigotry ‘moving at lightning speed’ Guterres warns, as UN marks the Holocaust

“Now more than ever, let us unite in the fight for universal values and build a world of equality for all – UN Secretary-General

Amid an “alarming increase” in anti-Semitism, International Holocaust Remembrance Day was commemorated at UN Headquarters in New York on Monday, honouring the memory of some six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust during World War Two, along with many other victims of what the UN chief called “unprecedented, calculated cruelty and horror”.

“From a deadly assault on a synagogue in the United States to the desecration of Jewish cemeteries in Europe, this centuries-old hatred is not only still strong – it is getting worse” Secretary-General António Guterres said in his commemoration message, pointing to “the proliferation of neo-Nazi groups, and attempts to rewrite history and distort the facts of the Holocaust”.

As the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps recede in time, leaving fewer and fewer Holocaust survivors, the need to be vigilant grows stronger.

Under this year’s theme: “Holocaust Remembrance: Demand and Defend Your Human Rights”, youth are being encouraged to learn valuable lessons from the Holocaust, such as acting forcefully against discrimination and defending essential democratic values.

With neo-Nazism and hate groups on the rise, together with other forms of hatred around the world, the theme also highlights the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

Mr. Guterres recalled the quote by former Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, Jonathan Sacks: “The hate that begins with Jews never ends with Jews”.

“We see bigotry moving at lightning speed across the Internet”, underscored the UN chief, pointing to “intolerance entering mainstream politics – targeting minorities, Muslims, migrants and refugees, and exploiting the anger and anxiety of a changing world”.

“Now more than ever, let us unite in the fight for universal values and build a world of equality for all” concluded the Secretary-General.

For her part, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet highlighted in a message to mark the day, that alongside millions of Jews, “the victims of the Nazi camps included hundreds of thousands of Roma and Sinti people, people with disabilities, homosexuals, prisoners of war, political dissidents and members of Resistance networks from all over occupied Europe.”

Saying that “humanity could never again be the same after this frightful crime”, she spelled out: “We must stand together against this normalization of hatred. We must push back against this slowly rising tide of anti-Semitism, xenophobia and other attempts to deprive specific categories of people of their humanity and rights”.

As part of a week of commemorative activities, a ceremony on Monday in the General Assembly Hall featured first-hand testimony from survivors, memorial prayers, musical elements and words from Sara J. Bloomfield, Director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, who after 18 years, continues working to raise Holocaust awareness, deepen the understanding of its hard-learned lessons, confront denial and advance genocide prevention.

From the Hall, Mr. Guterres drew attention to what he called “the worst anti-Semitic attack in the history of the United States, when 11 worshippers observing Shabbat in Pittsburgh were murdered at the Tree of Life synagogue last October. “We must rise up against rising anti-Semitism”, he stressed.

In other events, an exhibition called “Beyond Duty: Diplomats Recognized as Righteous Among the Nations”, shared the unique stories of the diplomats who, serving under Nazi regimes, saved Jewish lives by providing passports, visas and travel permits for their escape.

“Only through multilateral action and cooperation can we move closer to achieving a world of safety and dignity for all people, everywhere”, Mr. Guterres said at the launch.

A presentation on a lesser-known chapter from Holocaust’s history about the haven some Jewish refugees fleeing Europe found in India was scheduled as part of the day’s events, and a second exhibition of photographs called “Bracha. A Blessing. Back to Polish Shtetls”, was unveiled, documenting the journeys taken by Jewish descendants from Poland, back to their birthplaces, to pay homage to the culture and heritage they were forced to leave behind in the form synagogues, graveyards and the graves of Tzadikim, or “the righteous people”.

For a full list of events, please click here and for some useful historical background, go here.

UN Photo/Loey Felipe
Participants at the 2019 United Nations Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony.

 

Despite setbacks, ‘political will’ to end Yemen war stronger than ever: top UN envoy

“We have seen the two parties demonstrate remarkable political will, first to reach a ceasefire agreement, and then to abide by it. What we need to see now is the implementation of the provisions…fully and rapidly – UN Special Envoy, Martin Griffiths

 

The ceasefire in Yemen’s crucial port city of Hudaydah is “generally holding” and deadlines have had to be extended, but the UN’s Special Envoy said on Monday that “more than any time in the past” the political will remains to end years of conflict that has left millions on the brink of starvation.

Martin Griffiths, said in a newspaper interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, and in a series of tweets reflecting his remarks, that the “biggest challenge is not to fail the people of Yemen” as the Government forces and their coalition backers, attempt to secure the first stages of a tentative peace deal with rebel Houthi leaders, that was inked in Sweden last December, and brokered by the UN.

Mr. Griffiths said that a deadline set for the withdrawal of Houthi fighters in Hudaydah, the crucial port that carries the vast majority of life-saving aid and goods into the country, had been delayed, and said that planned prisoner exchange talks, were still a work in progress.

He also confirmed that the retired Dutch General Patrick Cammaert, who has been leading an advance UN mission tasked with overseeing the ceasefire deal, and talks between Government and Houthi negotiators who are part of the Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC), was stepping down. He denied that any disagreements had resulted in his resignation.

“There is no element of truth to such reports. As a matter of fact, General Cammaert and I have been working closely to close the gap between the two parties on the operational implementation of the Hodeidah Agreement”, he told the Arabic language newspaper.

“Our meetings with all the parties were very constructive last week. General Cammaert’s plan was to stay in Yemen for a rather short period of time, to activate the RCC and lay the ground for establishing the Hodeidah mission,” he added.

The Special Envoy said that it was “important not to lose sight of the big picture necessary to resolve the conflict in Yemen. A framework that will draw a road map towards a political agreement will provide us with a basis for the end game; that is the political solution for the conflict there.”

He added that “we have seen the two parties demonstrate remarkable political will, first to reach a ceasefire agreement, and then to abide by it. What we need to see now is the implementation of the provisions of the agreement, fully and rapidly.”

He acknowledged that “we have seen the timelines for implementation extended, both in Hudaydah, and the prisoner exchange agreement. Such changes in timelines are expected. The initial timelines were rather ambitious. We are dealing with a complex situation on the ground.”

He “categorically rejected” a call from the Saudi-led coalition which is backing Yemeni Government to declare the ceasefire over or apportion blame to one party, for attempting to nullify the hard-won Stockholm agreement.

“We are planning to convene the next round of political consultations soon,” he told the newspaper. “As I mentioned, we do not want to lose the momentum created in Sweden. However, we all are on the same page that we need to see progress in implementing what was agreed in Sweden before convening the next round of consultations. We hope we will be able to announce the date of the next round of consultations very soon.”

“There is a window of opportunity that was opened for Yemen in Sweden, and it is important to seize this opportunity, and to capitalize on the momentum we have seen during and after Sweden”, he said.

UN chief condemns deadly terrorist attack on church in southern Philippines

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has condemned the deadly terrorist attack on a church in restive southern Philippines early Sunday, and has called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice

In a statement issued by a UN spokesperson, the Secretary-General expressed his sincere condolences to the families of the victims and wished a speedy recovery to the wounded.

According to media reports, twin bombings ripped through the Jolo Cathedral in the island province of Sulu, which is in the Philippines southern Bangsamoro region.

The attack occurred during Sunday morning services and reportedly killed nearly 20 people and left more than 80 wounded.

“The Secretary-General calls for the perpetrators of these crimes to be swiftly brought to justice,” the statement said, and added that Mr. Guterres reiterated the support of the United Nations to the Philippines Government and people in their efforts to fight terrorism and violent extremism, and to carry forward the peace process in Bangsamoro region.

In late July 2018 President Rodrigo Duterte signed new legislation – formally the Organic Law for Bangsamoro in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao – which granted extra autonomy to Muslim communities living in the Southern Philippines, raising hopes that years of separatist violence involving central Government troops and militants could be brought to an end.

Today’s attack comes days after voters approved the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in majority-Muslim areas of southern Philippines.

But reports suggest that voters in Sulu province, where Jolo is located, rejected it.

Guterres in Davos: ‘Dysfunctional’ response to common problems, shows need for effective multilateralism

The world’s problems are “more and more integrated” but the response to them is increasingly “fragmented” and “dysfunctional”, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Thursday, in an appeal for governments and other partners to respond to people’s grievances and recommit to international cooperation.

In his “State of the World” address, delivered at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, Mr. Guterres gave a comprehensive assessment of current global risks and challenges, while also noting “a wind of hope” for potential conflict resolution in the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Yemen and Syria.

World Economic Forum/Benedikt von Loebell
Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres (r) addresses the World Economic Forum in Davos, Swizerland alongside Forum President, Børge Brende, on 24 January 2019.

Much greater solidarity is needed to counter the many challenges facing the world, he insisted, highlighting the “paralysis” of the UN Security Council on certain issues, and the fact that relations between the world’s three superpowers – China, Russia and the United States – had “never been as dysfunctional” as they are today.

In light of this “multipolar” situation, and the involvement of other States such as Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia in the Syrian conflict, Mr. Guterres called for greater involvement in multilateral organizations, suggesting that it was an absence of these mechanisms that had led to the First World War.

“If one looks at global politics and geo-political tensions, the global economy and megatrends including climate change, the movement of people and digitalization, the truth is that they are more and more interlinked… but the responses are fragmented,” he said, warning that “if these are not reversed, it’s a recipe for disaster”.

Climate change ‘running faster than we are’

Focusing on climate change as one of the key challenges facing the world, the UN chief insisted that “we are losing the race” to manage it.

Climate change is running faster than we are,” he said, highlighting that even though the reality was “proving to be worse than what science has foreseen” as the world experiences ever-warmer temperatures, political will to do something about it was “slowing down”.

And in a context of continuing national subsidies for fossil fuel-burning industries, only limited carbon pricing and persistent climate change doubters, Mr. Guterres regretted the fact that this should be so, at a time when the “technology is on our side and when we see more and more the business community ready to respond in a positive way and the civil society more and more engaged”.

Economic dark clouds

Turning to the world’s economy, the UN chief noted that although global growth was “acceptable”, there were nonetheless “dark clouds on the horizon.”

These were being encouraged by trade disputes – which were “essentially a political problem”, he maintained – along with higher levels of debt than before the 2008-9 financial crisis.

Both issues prevented countries from responding to emerging crises and implementing major infrastructure projects that were necessary for sustainable development, Mr. Guterres explained, noting also a growing lack of trust with governments “and international organizations like ours”.

“If one looks at the shutdowns and the Brexit saga, there is a certain sense that political systems do not know exactly what to do when dealing with problems that have strong economic impacts,” he said. “That is a factor of lack of confidence and a factor of lack of confidence creates of increases instability in the markets.”

On globalization and technological progress, which had brought “fantastic improvements” to many, Mr. Guterres noted that these developments had increased inequality and marginalized millions, both within countries, and between them.

With disillusionment the result, and amid the mass movement of people in search of a better life or shelter, the UN Secretary-General insisted that although he firmly believed a coordinated and global response was the answer, more needed to be done to convince those who felt differently.

It’s ‘not enough, to vilify populists and nationalists’

“It’s also not enough to vilify those that disagree with this and just consider them as nationalists or populists or whatever,” he said. “We need to understand the grievances and the root causes why large sectors of the population in different parts of the world disagree with us.  And we need to address those root causes and we need to show these people that we care for them.”

Achieving this cannot be done by governments or international organizations alone, Mr. Guterres said, before calling for more space for other actors to get involved in a revived 21st century multilateral model.

“We need to work together. There is no way we can do isolated responses to the problems we face, they are all interlinked… It needs to be a multilateralism in which States are part of the system, but it needs more and more the business community, civil society, academia – they are all part of the world to analyze problems, to define strategies, to define policies and then to implement them.”

Key to show ‘added value’ of UN in surge for diplomacy

Among his other priorities, the UN Secretary-General underlined his wish to show the “added value” of the United Nations.

He pointed to the recent meeting on climate change in Katowice, Poland, where Member States agreed on the basis to move forward on the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, at which parties undertook to limit global temperature increase to 1.5C.

“Everybody thought that Katowice would be a failure; it was not,” he said. “We managed to approve the work programme of the Paris Agreement. We need more ambition… but it was possible to bring together countries that were in a totally different position to at least agree on the basis to move forward.”

On Yemen, he insisted that the UN was pushing for a “surge in diplomacy for peace” after a first ceasefire accord was signed in Sweden at the end of last year, while “many other situations have been improving in recent times” he said, including South Sudan and Ethiopia.

“We are there, we are doing things that are necessary, and nobody can replace the United Nations in this way,” Mr. Guterres said, adding that the UN was still responsible for distributing more than half the aid in the world today.

UNHCR:  RSD Associate, Washington, D.C.

UNHCR JOB DESCRIPTION

PART 2A – IDENTIFICATION OF POSITION

Position No:     10035581

Position Title:   RSD Associate Position Grade:  G6
Position Location: Washington, D.C.  

 

PART 2B – POSITION REQUIREMENTS
2.1 ORGANIZATIONAL CONTEXT. Define the role of the position within the team, describing its leadership role, if any, it’s external/internal work relationships or contacts, the contextual environment in which it operates and the scope of supervision received, and where applicable, exercised by the incumbent.

 

The RSD Associate will be a member of the Caribbean Protection Unit (CPU) in UNHCR’s Washington regional office. The CPU monitors the protection of persons of concern to UNHCR in 23 countries and territories in the Caribbean. The vast majority of these countries and territories do not have functioning asylum systems. Thus, UNHCR conducts refugee status determination (RSD) under its mandate and/or provides Advisory Opinions on individual cases for asylum-seekers in a number of countries in the Caribbean. The RSD Associate will contribute to UNHCR’s refugee status determination work in the Caribbean through interviewing asylum-seekers and issuing first-instance decisions and appeal assessments, as well as working closely with the CPU’s many local partners to promote the protection of asylum-seekers and refugees in-country. The RSD Associate will play a very active role in UNHCR’s capacity-building efforts throughout the Caribbean, including through providing technical guidance to Governments on asylum law and conducting trainings.

 

2.2 FUNCTIONAL STATEMENT. Describe the accountabilities, responsibilities and authorities associated with the position.

 

Accountability (key results that will be achieved)

 

–        The protection of asylum-seekers, refugees and stateless persons is promoted through the application of international and national law, relevant UN/UNHCR protection standards.

–        Protection activities are guided by the CPU protection strategy and respect UNHCR’s policy on age, gender and diversity (AGD).

–        Protection incidents relating to persons of concern to UNHCR are immediately identified and addressed.

 

Responsibility (process and functions undertaken to achieve results)

 

–        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.

–        Provide counselling to, and respond to queries from, asylum seekers and refugees, including in the context of the notification of negative RSD decisions.

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

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

–        Systematically apply an age, gender and diversity (AGD) perspective in the performance of assigned functions.

–        Conduct research on country of origin information (COI) and other issues related to RSD and maintain the Operation’s local repository of relevant information, guidelines and standards accessible to RSD staff in the operation.

–        Assist in monitoring RSD trends and in compiling and analysing RSD statistics related to RSD case processing.

–        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, policies 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.

–        Draft correspondence and reports relating to the RSD activities of the Operation.

 

Authority (decisions made in executing responsibilities and to achieve results)

 

–        Make decisions in individual cases in accordance with established policy, country-of-origin information, and relevant legal standards.

–        Refer individual cases to other functional units in the Operation and/or external partners for appropriate follow-up, in accordance with established criteria.

–        Counsel individual asylum-seekers on the reasons for negative RSD decisions, in accordance with the RSD SOPs.

 

2.3 REQUIRED COMPETENCIES, which illustrate behaviours 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.  Where applicable, select a maximum of six Managerial and  of three Cross-Functional Competencies. (Note that the Performance Appraisal and Management System (PAMS) allows for up to five Cross-Functional Competencies to be selected by the staff member and the supervisor.

 

Code Managerial Competencies
1.  M001 Empowering and Building Trust
2.  M002 Managing Performance
3.  M003 Judgement and Decision Making
4.  M004 Strategic Planning and Vision
5.  M005 Leadership
6.  M006 Managing Resources
   
Code Cross-Functional Competencies
1.  X001 Analytical Thinking
2.  X002 Innovation and Creativity
3.  X003 Technological Awareness
4.  X004 Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
5.  X005 Planning and Organizing
6.  X006 Policy Development and Research
7.  X007 Political Awareness
8.  X008 Stakeholder Management
9.  X009 Change Capability and Adaptability
2.4 ESSENTIAL MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS AND PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE REQUIREDDefine the educational background, the relevant job experience and the language(s) that are essential to perform the work of the position.

 

–        Completion of Secondary School and advanced training/certification in social work or a related field.

–        Minimum 6 years of relevant professional job experience (of which three years can be fulfilled by relevant undergraduate/graduate studies).

–        Research and analytical skills.

–        Excellent oral and written communication skills.

–        Fluency in English and working knowledge of Spanish.

2.5 DESIRABLE QUALIFICATIONS & COMPETENCIES.  Describe any experience or knowledge that would be an asset, such as: UNHCR Learning Programmes, other training, additional languages, Field/HQs experience, etc.

 

–        Working experience with procedures and principles related to RSD.

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

–        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, or Protection Learning Programme.

 

DEADLINE: Friday, 8 February 2019 at 5:00 p.m. EST

 

To apply, send a copy of your completed Personnel History Form and supplement (if necessary), a cover letter, and resume to: usawaadm@unhcr.org and note in the subject line “RSD Associate (G6).” Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

 

‘Forgotten crisis’ in Cameroon, with attacks on the rise, millions in need of ‘lifesaving assistance’

Around 4.3 million Cameroonians, mostly women and children, are now in need of lifesaving assistance, the UN announced on Thursday, presenting it’s 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan for the West African country, in coordination with the Government and aid partners.

UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Cameroon, Ms. Allegra Baiocchi, and Cameroon’s Civil Protection Director, Ms. Yap Mariatou, warned at the launch in Geneva, that the was a drastic increase in humanitarian need across the country.

 Cameroon today can no longer be a forgotten crisis; it needs to be high on our agenda – UN Humanitarian Coordinator, Allegra Baiocchi

“Hundreds of thousands of people on Cameroon’s territory need urgent assistance and protection,” Ms. Baiocchi said, adding that “attacks against civilians have increased and many conflict-affected people are surviving in harsh conditions without humanitarian assistance due to the dramatic underfunding of the response. Cameroon today can no longer be a forgotten crisis; it needs to be high on our agenda.”

UNHCR/Catianne Tijerina
Central African mothers and children queue for food at the Timangolo refugee centre in Cameroon.

With needs rising by 31 per cent in a year, the UN today estimates that around 4.3 million people in Cameroon – one in six people and mostly women and children – require lifesaving assistance.

The joint Humanitarian Response Plan 2019 seeks $299 million to assist 2.3 million vulnerable people, more than half of those in need. Last year, a $320 million response plan for Cameroon was only 40 per cent funded.

The aggravation of the conflict in western regions is the main driver behind the increase, with armed attacks in the far north, and new refugees coming from the Central African Republic also increasing demand for urgent aid.

Insecurity and violence in these regions have uprooted 437,000 people from their homes and forced over 32,000 to seek refuge in neighbouring Nigeria. Four million people are affected by the conflict in Cameroon’s west, says the UN.

In addition, due to the deteriorating situation in northeast Nigeria, more than 10,000 new refugees arrived in Cameroon in 2018, bringing the number of Nigerian refugees to 100,000.

Needs ‘likely to increase in coming years’

“The Government of Cameroon is responsible for the protection and wellbeing of its people and has been at the forefront of the response with its national and international partners,” added Ms. Yap Mariatou. “We acknowledge the scale of the different crises we face, and we encourage all the actors to work in close partnership to address the needs of Cameroonians and of the people we host.”

“Humanitarian needs are likely to increase in coming years,” said Ms. Baiocchi, adding that budgets had failed in increase adequately in recent years.

“Underfunding means we cannot do all we can to make a difference in the life of most vulnerable people across Cameroon, whether it is the girl who is missing school due to violence, the displaced mother struggling to feed her children, or the father who has lost his entire family.”

First-ever International Day of Education commemorated

Education is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development because it gives people across the world the skills needed to realize all 17 Global Goals (SDGs), said the UN chief on Thursday, marking the first-ever International Day of Education.

“Education transforms lives”, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said, recounting his personal story of teaching in “the slums of Lisbon” where he saw first-hand that “education is an engine for poverty eradication and a force for peace”.

At the heart of the SDGs today, education serves as a basis for achieving the other goals, including reducing inequalities; improving health; achieving gender equality; fighting hate speech, xenophobia and intolerance; protecting the planet’s resources and nurturing global citizenship.

Education is a human right, a public good and a public responsibility –UNESCO chief

“Yet”, the UN chief flagged, “at least 262 million children, adolescents and youth are out of school, most of them girls.  Millions more who attend school are not mastering the basics”.

Calling it “a violation of their human right to education” he stressed that the world could not afford a generation of youth who lack the necessary skills to compete in the 21st century economy, “nor can we afford to leave behind half of humanity”.

“Let us prioritize education as a public good; support it with cooperation, partnerships and funding; and recognize that leaving no one behind starts with education” concluded the Secretary-General.

For her part, Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), called the Day an occasion to “reaffirm fundamental principles”.

“Education is a human right, a public good and a public responsibility” she said, calling it “the most powerful force in our hands to ensure significant improvements in health, to stimulate economic growth, to unlock the potential and innovation we need to build more resilient and sustainable societies”.