Child Protection Officer -Migration- (NOA), Guatemala City, Guatemala #00111675

from UN Children's Fund
Closing date: 26 Oct 2019

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Background on child migration in Guatemala

Since 2012, UNICEF has worked on child migration issues and strengthened the capacity of the government to attend the child migrants returning from Mexico and the United States of America.

In 2014, when the United States of America declared a humanitarian crisis on the border due to the situation of unaccompanied minors, the issue became more public, and UNICEF´s interventions more intense than the years before.

During the US fiscal year from October 2017 to September 2018, 72,278 Guatemalan migrant girls, boys and adolescents were intercepted at the Southern border of the United States of America -the highest number ever recorded- including 22,327 unaccompanied girls, boys, and adolescents and 50,401 family units (i.e. at least one child accompanied by one parent).

In April 2018, the US Government began enforcement of a "zero tolerance" policy under which all adult migrants entering or attempting to enter the country unofficially would be criminally prosecuted. In addition, the US border authorities implemented a separation policy to separate migrant children from their parents. The policy was in force for weeks resulting, according to figures by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Guatemala as of June 2018, in more than 465 Guatemalan migrant children separated from their parents at the border.

Since October 15, 2018, an unprecedented number of people from the Central American region, between 10,000 and 14,000 Hondurans and Salvadorians spanning three "caravans", crossed Guatemala heading to Mexico and the United States of America in search of better opportunities or running away from violence, according to the migrants themselves. The "caravans" were comprised of girls, boys, adolescents, pregnant women, seniors, and young people. In the case of girls and boys, most of them were accompanied by a relative. This massive mobility of people caused a humanitarian crisis.

During the US fiscal year of 2019, the number of child migrants was the highest in recorded history. By June, the U.S. Custom and Border Protection reported 194,272 Guatemalan children detected on the border (167,104 children with a relative and 27168 children unaccompanied).

UNICEF is currently leading an interagency UN group for migration. Different institutions from the government and civil society request technical support from UNICEF. There are a lot of demands to UNICEF Guatemala at the border and around the country to give humanitarian support and technical advice to tackle the child migrant issue.

UNICEF is working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, implementing a model for the provision of consular assistance to accompanied and unaccompanied children. The US and Mexico have mainstreamed the provision of psycho-social care for children with the establishment of special care units comprised of psychologists and social workers. Although not all consulates have this service, those with more migratory movement have the human resources, care-provision protocols, and coordination mechanisms already implemented to ensure the protection of migrant children.

The model for the provision of Consular Assistance and Protection comprises a) psychosocial care teams; b) a protocol to provide consular assistance and protection with a psycho-social approach; c) a social communication campaign, "What is happening? What do I do?" translated into three Mayan languages, addressing the rights of migrant children and their families during migratory processes in the United States of America, and Mexico; and d) training for the consular network of Guatemala in the United States of America, and Mexico.

Implementing the model enables coordination among consulate teams and institutional actors engaged in addressing children and adolescents at different moments during the process of assistance, and allows detecting boys, girls, and adolescents in vulnerable situations or who require protection measures for being survivors or witnesses of violence either in Guatemala, or in the countries of transit/destiny.

During the repatriation of children and adolescents to Guatemala, UNICEF has supported the Secretariat of Social Welfare (SBS), and the Secretariat of Social Works of the President´s Wife (SOSEP), in the development and implementation of Reception Protocols, in the case of SBS, focused on Unaccompanied Children, and in the case of SOSEP, focused on Family Groups. Both protocols have a psycho-social approach and are aimed at identifying and following up cases of children and adolescents, and their families, in highly vulnerable situations and requiring special protection. Also, a National Protocol for the Reception and Provision of Assistance to Migrant Children and Adolescents in Guatemala was developed, leading to the formalization of a pathway for interinstitutional coordination among the different bodies in the Child Protection System.

Work with Civil Society, mainly with Casa del Migrante of Guatemala City, has been focused on the development of the minimum standards in the provision of comprehensive care at shelters, and the tools for interviewing girls, boys, and adolescents avoiding secondary victimization, and provision of a psychosocial team to provide said comprehensive care.

Currently, it is imperative that UNICEF supports interventions for the high number of child migrants that transit through Guatemala, from El Salvador, Honduras and other countries.

The 2018 Concluding observations on the combined fifth and sixth periodic report of Guatemala of the Committee on the Rights of the Child recommend that the state of Guatemala (a) Develop a comprehensive, child rights based policy to address the root causes of the irregular and unaccompanied migration of children; (b) Establish a normative and public policy framework for the protection of children in the context of international migration and ensure that data-collection systems include disaggregated information about children in situations of migration; (c) Adopt measures to protect children who have been subjected to deportation from other countries, including by undertaking risk assessments on the security of children in their communities of origin, and collect disaggregated data related to cases of children's repatriation, including on the reintegration of children into their families and communities.

UNICEF Guatemala's Child Protection Programme will hire a child protection officer professional with an emphasis on migrant children.

Requirements:• Professional degree in legal and social sciences, preferably with a Master's degree.• Verifiable experience, minimum of 3 years, in child protection and care for migrant children, planning for development in areas related to child protection and humanitarian assistance.• Knowledge of national reality, national and international legislation for the protection of children and the functioning of the United Nations system.• Competencies for teamwork, project management and institutional capacity building.

• Fluency in English and Spanish is required.

For every Child, you demonstrate…Our core values of Commitment, Diversity and Integrity and core competencies in Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results.

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UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization.


Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.

How to apply:

UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified female and male candidates from all national, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of our organization. To apply, click on the following link