Junior EU Aid Volunteer - UNHCR Associate Protection Officer - Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo

— 1 positions
Deployment dates: 

The Office of the UNHCR was established on 14 December 1950 by the UN General Assembly. The agency is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country (
UNHCR began working in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992. Throughout the years, the operation have been working with five distinct groups across the country (refugees, asylum seekers, persons at risk of statelessness, internally displaced persons and returnees), each of which has specific protection needs and require targeted assistance to reach a durable solution. The three key priority areas of work for the office are 1) promoting, facilitating and strengthening the access to asylum & asylum procedures and integration for those in need of international protection, of late particularly crucial in the context of a mixed migration situation the country has been facing with significantly increased number of asylum seekers since January 2019, arriving through the Western Balkan route, prompting the BiH Office to engage more in the direct response also from a humanitarian perspective, including in areas such as health, coordination, operational protection (identification and referrals of particularly vulnerable individuals, such as unaccompanied minors, families with small children, victims of SGVB); 2) responding and preventing Statelessness with the aim of eradicating statelessness by 2024 (UNHCR global goal); and 3) addressing the remaining needs of refugees, displaced and returnees from the conflicts in the region in the 1990’ies with a focus on solutions oriented advocacy, capacity building and strategic interventions. UNHCR BiH has been working on all these issues with its implementing partners, including local authorities at all levels. 

The UN designated state of alert for BiH is Security Level 2 (Low) for the entire country. The situation in BiH is generally quiet; all international agencies consider threats to their staff to be low at this time. However, BiH has the same problems as much of Europe, from pickpockets to traffic accidents, so all staff must exercise appropriate personal security awareness and common sense.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is still the country with the largest mine contamination problem. Staff are advised not to deviate from well-travelled routes while in the country. See

All official missions are to be conducted with full compliance to MOSS requirements, considering destination, transportation selected and activities carried out.

UNHCR Associate Protection Officer

The Associate Protection Officer will be responsible for/involved in the following tasks:
• Through relationships with persons of concern, authorities and network of partners stay abreast of political, social, economic and cultural developments that have an impact on the protection environment and provide advice to senior management.
• Ensure that the perspectives, capacities, needs and resources of the persons of concerns are reflected in the protection strategy, planning processes and operations plan addressing the specific protection needs of women and men, children, youth and older persons, persons with disabilities, minority groups such as sexual minorities and persons living with HIV/AIDS;
• Utilize the IDPs footprint during the planning process;
• Coordinate the promotion of international refugee law principles and standards and also IDP legislation or policies ensuring that all sectors and clusters fulfill their responsibilities mainstreaming protection;
• Coordinate the implementation and monitoring of programmes ensuring that identified protection needs, including an Age, Gender and Diversity (AGD) approach, are adequately addressed;
• Provide policy guidance and operational support to UNHCR and partners on all protection related issues;
• Provide legal advice and guidance on protection issues to internal and external interlocutors; ensure legal assistance is accessible to persons of concern; liaise with competent authorities to ensure the issuance of personal and other relevant documents to persons of concern (civil documentation, in particular birth certificates);
• Monitor, and assist with the intervention in cases of refoulement, expulsion and other protection incidents through working relations with governments and other partners;
• Assist in the coordinated implementation and oversight of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for all protection/solutions activities;
• Ensure that durable solutions through voluntary repatriation, local integration and where appropriate, resettlement are sought and provided to the largest possible number of persons of concern;
• Ensure through direct action and advocacy with more senior protection staff that the necessary resources are allocated to enable protection activities to identify and address protection and assistance gaps;
• Support a consultative process with government counterparts at local levels, partners and persons of concern to develop and implement integrated strategies that address the key protection priorities, including, for example, child protection, education and SGBV, and solutions approaches;
• Promote confidence building and conflict resolution among populations of concern, authorities and host communities;
• Maintain protection presence through regular field missions and reports, making direct contact with persons of concern, host communities, local authorities and partners. In operations applying the humanitarian cluster system, contribute to ensuring that the response of the Protection Cluster is grounded in an AGD-compliant strategy which covers all assessed and prioritized protection needs of the affected populations;
• Contribute to the Protection team's information management component which: provide disaggregated data on populations of concern and their problems; researches, collects and disseminates relevant protection information and good practices to enhance protection delivery and provide technical advice if necessary;
• Ensure participatory, community-based protection and AGD approaches are included in, strategies and plans in the country operation;
• Support persons of concern to develop structures that enhance their participation and protection.

Project communication (10%)

- 10% of the EUAV time will be allocated for communication tasks, to demonstrate the value added and impact of the EU Aid Volunteers initiative and its different actions, and the professional contribution of EU Aid Volunteers. This will be implemented through specific channels discussed with the communications officer.
- Get in touch with the ECHO's RIOs (Regional Information Officers) to, previously approved by the line manager, share information about HOPE and the experience to be an EU Aid Volunteer.
- Develop one story from the field (an anecdotal story about their experience/work/ impact) produced during the assignment that may be uploaded into the network for use by sending/hosting organisation and the European Union for communication purposes.
- Conference/workshop participation: Where appropriate, contribute to sharing experiences of life as an EU Aid Volunteer at conference/workshops organised by sending or hosting organisations and the European Commission.


Required competences

You will be expected to work independently and as a part of the team, yet in close collaboration with colleagues particularly from the Protection and Operations Units. You are accountable for your performance and outputs, showing professionalism, commitment and motivation in your work. You possess strong communication, planning and organising skills as well as strong writing skills and a genuine interest in international law.
Additionally, you have:

  • Commitment to help persons of concern and willingness to cooperate with counterparts.
  • Fluency in oral and written English. Knowledge of local B/C/S language would be an asset;
  • Multicultural competence as well as awareness, knowledge and skills needed to work with others, who are culturally different from self in meaningful, relevant, and productive ways.
Selection criteria
Applications are made directly within the sending organisation, please check out the how to apply section.

The candidate for EU Aid Volunteers must be a citizen of the EU or a third country national who is a long-term resident in an EU Member State, and must have a minimum age of 18 years.

Volunteers bear great responsibility and are expected to live up to high ethical and professional standards – both in relation to the people we help and in relation to each other. Volunteers do not discriminate based on race, colour, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations.

- Minimum BA University degree in Law, International Law, International Relations, Social Sciences, Political Sciences or related field
- Minimum 2 years of experience with refugees and/or other people of concern in a protection capacity required.
- Field experience;
- Commitment to help persons of concern and willingness to cooperate with counterparts.
- Fluency in oral and written English. Knowledge of local B/C/S language would be an asset;
- Multicultural competence as well as awareness, knowledge and skills needed to work with others, who are culturally different from self in meaningful, relevant, and productive ways.

Condition of service

As a Volunteer in the Protection Unit in UNHCR Country Office Sarajevo, you will have opportunity to learn about UNHCR’s activities, to gain work experience in UN/UNHCR working environment, and/or gain knowledge on a broad range of UNHCR’s Persons of Concern (PoCs) related issues, with a focus on situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. You will join a team of specialised staff who have a strong focus on refugee and asylum law, including international and human rights law. You will actively participate in the work of the Protection Unit on a variety of protection issues and tasks, including conducting research, preparing briefing notes and reports. Your interest and expertise will be taken into consideration when guiding some of your workload.

Sarajevo is the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and the largest urban center in BiH. The city is famous for its traditional religious diversity, with adherents of Islam, Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and Judaism coexisting there for centuries.

Sarajevo's climate exhibits influences of oceanic (Cfb), humid continental (Dfa) and humid subtropical (Cfa) zones, with four seasons. In general, regular medical facilities are available, with two main hospitals (General Hospital and the Clinical Center of the University of Sarajevo) and a significant number of small private clinics. General sanitary and hygiene conditions are adequate. Good local banking facilities are available (use of credit cards, ATMs). Communication services (domestic and international) are available on a regular basis. Availability of food, furnishings and other necessities is adequate (various grocery stores and markets with fresh food products, shopping centers, etc). Public transportation is available. Public water supply, electricity and sewerage system are in place.

International airport is 20 minutes drive from the UNHCR Office in Sarajevo. Accommodation is available in the private houses or apartments. Hotels facilities are adequate. International schools, located within commuting distance, providing primary and secondary education, and that offers an International Baccalaureate program or equivalent are available in English and French language.

Working conditions:

Normal work hours (incl lunch): 40 hours per week (excluding lunch)

Days of per week: Monday through Friday

Holidays: Official UN holidays

In addition to the costs covered by the program, volunteers get a monthly subsistence lump sum payments 342.17EUR. At the end of the successful deployment, sum of 100EUR x every month deployed, will be paid towards the relocation.

Selection process

Only shortlisted candidates will be notified and invited for an interview. All interviews will be done online, where the interview panel will consist of at least one members of UNCHR.

Candidates are asked to submit their documentation to the Estonian Refugee Council staff by 31.03.19 via following link:

Required documents are:

- CV Europass in English
- motivation letter
- proof of EU citizenship/long therm residency (copy of passport or residency permit)
- university certificate (copy)

Those invited to the interview round are required to fill the Self Assessment Questionnaire 2 days prior the interview. SAQ can be downloaded below. If you encounter any problems with submission, please contact us at

EU trainings:

Based on the interviews one or more candidates will be chosen per position. Hence please note that additional candidates may be selected for a single position. To select the final candidate for each position pre-selected candidates from the interview will attend both an online and in-presence EU Aid Volunteer training, which are a part of the selection process. The selection of additional candidates is to ensure a substitute volunteer per position. The substitute volunteer may be chosen to replace the candidate in case he/she resigns, is no longer available or of other reasons.

The final selection takes place shortly after the in-presence training. The remaining candidate(s) may be offered the chance to be registered in a reserve pool to cover drop-outs or unforeseen needs, and thus still have a chance of being deployed at another position.

Induction training:
All final selected candidates will attend a pre-deployment introduction training (2,5 days) at Danish Refugee Council’s headquarter in Copenhagen.

Training costs:
Please note that all costs incurred in relation to the EU in-present training and the induction training will be fully covered (i.e. EU travel, full-board accommodation, and the course itself).

If a candidate is working outside of the EU at the time of their training course, the travel costs for the following groups of volunteers will be fully covered:
• EU citizens who legally reside in a non-EU country for long-term or forever (i.e. who live in that country).
• EU citizens who are on a temporary assignment in a third country that lasts more than 24 months (i.e. who work in a third country).

For the following groups or persons only the costs from an EU country to the training venue shall be covered:
• EU citizens on a temporary assignment in a third country that lasts less than 18 months (e.g. internships, traineeships, apprenticeships, short-term jobs).
• EU citizens that are selected for the training by the same organization or affiliate with which they have an ongoing assignment in the third country, if this assignment is longer than 18 months.

Date of training
June 2019
Apprenticeship Placement
Pre-deployment preparation and induction
1 week prior department
15/08/2019 to 14/04/2020
Post-deployment activities
Minor media related tasks 3 months after deployment
Self assessment questionnaire
File Self-assessment questionnaire