Egypt: RSD Legal Officer, Refugee Legal Aid Program

Organization: St. Andrew’s Refugee Services
Country: Egypt
Closing date: 02 Mar 2017

Founded in 1979, St Andrew’s Refugee Services (StARS) is a refugee service provider in central Cairo that works to enhance the quality of life for refugees and vulnerable migrants through education, legal aid, and psychosocial services. We provide high-quality services meeting the unaddressed needs of refugees, and we provide a safe and inclusive space for displaced people to come together as a community. We work for refugees, with refugees, to make rights recognition a reality.

StARS’ Mission is to enhance the quality of life of refugees in Egypt and make their rights a reality through client-centered programs.

StARS’ Vision is a safe, inclusive, and supportive environment for refugees in which they can exercise their rights, pursue their aspirations, and live in dignity.

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 (RSD) procedures in Egypt and assists refugees in accessing resettlement to safe third countries. RLAP is seeking a Legal Officer to assist clients in their RSD processes before UNHCR.

Role

Under the supervision of the RLAP Director and 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; drafting legal briefs in support of refugee claims in appeal and reopening procedures; and communicating with UNHCR and others concerning client cases and additional support. 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 Director and the RLAP RSD Coordinator.

Legal and Technical

  • To develop and supervise the screening and intake of potential clients for representation in RSD matters.
  • To manage and oversee RLAP’s caseload in RSD matters, ensuring timely provision of assistance and follow-up on client cases as necessary.
  • 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.

Programmatic

  • To assist the RLAP Director and RLAP RSD Coordinator in development and implementation of team policies and procedures.
  • To assist other members of RLAP and StARS programs regarding issues related to the urban refugee population.
  • To attend and contribute to RLAP meetings and other staff meetings.
  • To build and maintain strong relationships with refugee communities in Cairo.
  • To build and maintain relationships with psychosocial and education staff and operational partners to ensure the smooth running of the project.
  • To communicate with refugee communities, other service providers, and UNHCR to facilitate the provision of accurate information and advice leading to the fulfillment of refugee rights.

Supervisory

  • To assist the RLAP RSD Coordinator in the recruitment of volunteer legal advisors and other staff.
  • To assist the RLAP RSD Coordinator in conducting an intensive one-week training for new volunteers two to three times per year.
  • To supervise volunteer legal advisors in RSD legal work, including providing guidance on managing workload and reviewing written drafts and other work.
  • 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.

Administration

  • To undergo probation and regular performance appraisals.

Communication/Reporting

  • To communicate regularly with the RLAP Director and the RLAP RSD Coordinator, reporting on all major issues and developments in the field and within RLAP.
  • To provide case reporting data to the RLAP Director as requested in order to accurately report work to senior management, funders, and others.
  • To submit activity reports as requested.
  • To promote information sharing within RLAP and StARS on all issues affecting the populations we serve.

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:

  • Education: 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). In lieu of these educational requirements, applications will also be accepted from candidates with a minimum of one year of experience representing refugees in RSD or asylum processes.
  • English being the official language of UNHCR Cairo and StARS, the RLAP RSD Legal Officer must be fluent in oral and written English.
  • Excellent legal research and drafting skills.
  • Knowledge of UNHCR guidelines and procedures, especially RSD procedures utilized by UNHCR Egypt.
  • 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 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:

  • Fluency in Arabic or a refugee language is an advantage.
  • Managerial experience or familiarity with volunteer oversight.
  • Life and work experience in the Middle East or Egypt or with an urban refugee population.

Hours: 40-hour work week (Sunday – Thursday), and other hours and overtime as required.

Supervised by: RLAP RSD Coordinator

Salary: 6,100 EGP per month, rising to 6,400 EGP per month at the completion of the probationary period (plus 400 EGP monthly Cost of Living Allowance and 125 EGP monthly medical allowance).

Benefits: StARS official benefit policies as stipulated in StARS Policies and Procedures Guidelines

Closing date for applications: 2 March 2017; applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Anticipated starting date: 15 April 2017 or as soon as possible.

This position is subject to a three-month probationary period, at which time the employee’s performance will be reviewed and probation may be extended.

How to apply:

Interested applicants should send a cover letter, CV, and brief legal writing sample to rlap.applications@stars-egypt.org. Please write “RSD Legal Officer” in the subject line.

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