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Chief Protection Officer

Requisition ID:  17245
Region:  Europe (HQ)
Contract type:  Open-ended contract

Reports to (role)


Deputy Director of Operations

What we do


The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) works worldwide to provide humanitarian 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.



The Chief Protection Officer provides thought leadership internally and externally on protection, holds a global overview of the ICRC protection work, and sets and oversees the implementation of high-level strategic direction with respect to protection. They directly supervise selected units and have convening authority across all units and teams with protection-related responsibilities.

Accountabilities & Functional responsibilities


  • Engages with high-level external stakeholders to shape protection-related debates, position the ICRC’s protection work at the global level and influence for protection outcomes; keeps up-to-date on latest developments and thinking concerning protection within the humanitarian sector.
  • Contributes to the overall steering of the Department of Operations and protection and assistance programmes through active participation in the respective management and leadership teams, providing input into high-level decision-making, addressing issues escalated to leadership level and shaping the continuous evolution of ICRC operations.
  • Leads in setting the high-level strategic direction of ICRC protection work, working closely with the Office of the Director of Operations and other operational decision-making fora (e.g. Etat Major des Opérations), protection and assistance[j2] units and the Department of International Law and Policy.
  • Leads, with the Deputy Director of International Law and Policy, the interdisciplinary Protection Platform, deciding with platform members how the ICRC will analyse and address protection trends through operations, law, policy and diplomacy, and coordinating related efforts.
  • Supports and promotes the development of ICRC positioning and practice with regard to key protection issues and approaches, in line with the ICRC’s overall strategic directions, covering the protection of civilians, detention, the Central Tracing Agency and, more generally, field operations.

  • Influences the development of partnerships/cooperation with others for protection outcomes, including by contributing to further shaping the approach to protection within the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and by integrating a protection angle into engagement with development-related and other players.
  • Convenes protection units and teams on a regular basis, in order to maintain a strong protection identity and coherent approaches and positions and to promote effective coordination across protection.
  • Convenes across all protection and assistance units and teams contributing to matters related to the ICRC’s protection work, to promote interdisciplinary understanding and collective contributions to delivering the organization’s protection mandate.
  • Ensures that protection-related input is channelled into priority organization-wide initiatives (e.g. organizational development, digital transformation).
  • Manages the Head of Protection Operations, Head of Protection of the Civilian Population, Head of Detention, and Protection within the Movement Manager, in a manner that promotes autonomy and leadership at the helm of each unit/team. Decides in case of disagreement between protection units/teams.

People management responsibilities


Scope & Impact


  • Geographic remit: Global.
  • Contributes to the strategic and operational performance of the ICRC’s protection work.
  • Contributes to developing organization-wide strategy at a global level.
  • Supervises up to six direct reports.



  • Internally, interacts across all units within the Central Tracing Agency and Protection Division and the Assistance Division, with the Office of the Director of Operations and other operational decision-making fora, across departments (in particular the Department of International Law and Policy and the Department of Communication and Information Management, at the level of deputy directors and heads of division), and with the Office of the President. Is a member of operational (e.g. Etat Major des Opérations) and protection-assistance leadership teams.
  • Within the Movement, maintains high-level relationships with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and key National Societies.
  • Externally, interacts with other humanitarian protection players and with authorities, donors, government officials, senior United Nations officials and representatives of non-governmental organizations, etc., building and maintaining a high-level network within the humanitarian protection sector.

Education and experience required


  • University degree or equivalent.
  • 15+ years of professional experience in the humanitarian sector, including field experience, preferably in both senior management and protection programming.
  • Experience in protection operations, including in the domains of protection of civilians, detention, protection of family links/missing, and protection of the dead
  • Experience in setting and implementing strategic objectives.
  • Experience in external stakeholder engagement, influencing, contributing to and shaping humanitarian debates.
  • Confirmed people management experience.
  • Fluent command of English and proficiency in French; knowledge of other languages an advantage.
  • Computer proficiency.

Additional information

  • Starting date: ASAP
  • Location: Geneva (GVA)
  • Length of assignment: 48 Months
  • Type of position: Mobile
  • Application deadline: 24 May 2021