Switzerland: Deputy Head of Protection of the Civilians Unit

By International Committee of the Red Cross Organization: International Committee of the Red Cross
Country: Switzerland
Closing date: 24 Oct 2018

What we do

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) works worldwide to provide humanitarian protection and assistance to people affected by conflict and armed violence. We take action in response to emergencies and at the same time promote respect for international humanitarian law. We are an independent and neutral organization, and our mandate stems essentially from the Geneva Conventions of 1949. We work closely with National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and with their International Federation in order to ensure a concerted, rational and rapid humanitarian response to the needs of the victims of armed conflict or any other situation of internal violence. We direct and coordinate the international activities conducted in these situations.


Under the Operations Directorate and within the Protection Division, the Protection of Civilians unit provides guidance on complex protection issues pertaining to all categories of populations of concern to the ICRC; it gives strategic and operational support to field delegations and other headquarters’ units in the following areas of activity: child protection, internal displacement, migration, conduct of hostilities/use of force and community-based protection. The unit is also responsible for the production of methodological and policy guidance documents in its areas of expertise. The Unit promotes good practices and develops and delivers global training on enhancing the protection of civilians.

The Deputy Head of Unit supports in developing and guiding the ICRC’s protection of civilian population strategy and in ensuring that all related activities are aligned with the Protection Division’s objectives, the regional strategic frameworks and the field delegations’ priorities. For the unit, s/he is in charge of operationalizing the protection of civilians’ strategy/vision with the field. S/he leads the development and dissemination of new tools, methodologies and approaches (including the Protection of Civilian in emergencies concept as well as digital/data considerations) to improve the overall protection response in the field. S/he provides specialist protection advice in relation to the conduct of hostilities and use of force and guides the field on protection engagement with state and armed non-state actors. S/he has managerial responsibilities for some of the team members in the unit. S/he is in charge of the unit in the absence of the Head of Unit.

Accountabilities & Functional responsibilities

Operational support

  • Provide targeted support to delegations in the analysis and definition of their strategic priorities and operational multidisciplinary responses to enhancing the protection of civilians.
  • Monitor protection-related developments in key priority contexts to effectively contribute to the work of operations in designing prevention and protection responses in emergencies. Ensure that the ICRC’s ambitions and approaches with respect to enhancing the protection of civilians in emergencies are relevant, clearly communicated and actively supported across the Institution.
  • Maintain regular interactions with colleagues in other divisions and units (e.g. operations, assistance, policy and legal departments, prevention, communication, digital transformation), the Regions, as well as with the Protection Heads of Sector (geographic divisions, e.g. Africa, Americas, Asia, Eurasia, NAME) and mobilize their efforts and ensure their involvement in the protection reflection and response as relevant.
  • Advise the ICRC’s operations (HQ, regional and field delegations) on specific issues related to the protection of civilians during the conduct of hostilities and law enforcement operations. Includes, the strengthening of field and HQ engagement strategies and an evidenced-based dialogue with authorities and armed non-state actors.
  • Support the results-based approach to monitoring and evaluation of of protection programming in collaboration with team members and related colleagues involved in protection and prevention activities. Support a result-based protection approach to protection
  • Serve as an active member of relevant internal working groups on diverse issues of institutional importance such as sexual violence, explosive weapons in populated areas, health care in danger, urban violence, etc.
  • Draft reports including situation reports, assessments, background documents, briefing papers, talking points and other relevant protection-specific documents.
  • Brief and debrief key staff assigned to priority protection of civilian contexts.

Data management and new technologies

  • In collaboration with the Data Management Unit, develop and adapt data management tools and methodologies to enhance analysis and improve protection responses in the field.
  • Responsible for the design, testing and integration of new digital solutions and approaches that may enhance ICRC’s protection of civilians’ response in the field.
  • As the unit’s focal point for all matters related to data management and evidence-based analysis, develop tools and regularly liaise with the Protection Data Unit, the new Digital Transformation & Data division, and the Innovation team to ensure a coherent and coordinated approach.

Support to policy development, communication and humanitarian diplomacy efforts

  • Develop the institutional reflection on issues related to enhancing the protection of civilians with a view to influence policy discussions and the broader debate, and inform ICRC’s policy orientations.
  • Provide technical review of position papers and strategic documents submitted by other units and external partners, including NGOs, UN agencies, and other organizations.
  • In coordination with the HoU, contribute to profiling the ICRC and its work on the protection of civilians publicly, including by initiating and/or supporting the production of public reports/ brochures/ online documents.
  • Assist the HoU to maintain and develop the network of interlocutors (UN agencies, NGOs, think tanks, academics) active on the protection of civilians. Identify and pursue partnering opportunities in areas

Capacity building and People management responsibilities

  • Manage the Protection of Civilians in emergencies pool.
  • Support HR managers with the identification and deployment of protection of civilians experts.
  • Directly manages 3 of the Unit’s advisers and the associates, and acts as the protection technical referent for the relevant regional positions and data analysts (includes GIS & Satellite imagery) in HQ and the field.
  • Replaces the Head of Unit when absent.

  • Keep ICRC staff updated of relevant developments on the protection of civilians and facilitate their access to key internal and external documents, including by organizing information sessions, webinars, and newsletters.

  • In collaboration with the Protection Training unit, ensure the delivery of relevant institutional trainings (e.g. Protection of Civilians consolidation course). Support regional protection trainers in developing contextualized sessions on protection of civilian’ related issues.

  • Support methodological development, as well as the collection and promotion of good operational practice regarding protection of civilian issues. Produce guidance documents and tools.

  • Ensure the revision and updating of relevant training modules and e-learnings


  • Internally, interacts within the other units of the Protection Division (Detention, Data, Global Affairs, Restoring Family Links, and Forensics), with the legal department, the assistance division, the communication teams, the policy and humanitarian diplomacy teams, as well as with the Regions and with the Delegations in the field.
  • Externally, interacts with other humanitarian organizations and think tanks working on the protection of civilians.

Certifications / Education required

  • University degree or equivalent in relevant subject (including but not limited to: international law, economics, international relations, anthropology.)
  • Excellent English. French, and a third ICRC working language (Arabic, Spanish or Russian) a strong asset.
  • Good data analysis and management skills.

Professional Experience required

  • 10-15 years of professional experience, including 5-7 years in the protection domain.
  • Solid field experience in conflict-settings.
  • Demonstrated experience leading teams of varied nationalities and cultural backgrounds.

Desired profile and skills

  • Strong conceptual and practical understanding of protection issues and approaches in humanitarian contexts, including the constraints, sensitivities and risks associated with such work.
  • Sound understanding of Protection of Civilians related issues, notably the conduct of hostilities, use of force and dialogue with authorities/ armed carriers.
  • Experience in the use of new technologies for humanitarian response (dynamic mapping tools, data management, crowdsourcing, etc.).
  • Proven analytical skills and strategic thinking, ability to apply professional and ethical standards to data collection and analysis processes.
  • Experience in undertaking research, monitoring and documentation of human rights/humanitarian violations.
  • Experience in developing and disseminating new methodologies.
  • Proven experience in the provision of technical advice and support to field programs, and ability to design and conduct training sessions for various types of audiences
  • Ability to work independently as well work as a team player – supporting other departments is essential.
  • Creative and innovative, ability to rapidly conduct pilot projects.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including high-level interpersonal, influencing, negotiation and representational capabilities (long listed candidates will be asked to provide a recent writing sample)

Additional information

  • Location : Geneva
  • Type of contract : Open-ended
  • Activity rate : 100%
  • Length of assignment : 4 years
  • Estimated start date : ASAP
  • Application deadline : 24.10.2018

How to apply:

Click on the link to apply: http://bit.ly/2y6UaUC

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