The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) supports the work of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the principal human rights official of the United Nations. The Office spearheads the United Nations' human rights efforts by offering leadership, working objectively, educating, and taking action to empower individuals and assist States in upholding human rights.
OHCHR works to ensure the enforcement of universally recognized human rights norms, including through promoting both the universal ratification and implementation of the major human rights treaties and respect for the rule of law. Students may be placed in one of the three following units:
While the OHCHR Human Rights Treaties Division supports the work of all the nine core human rights treaty bodies, Section I in particular supports the work of the Human Rights Committee; the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR); the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD); the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW); and the Committee against Torture (CAT). In addition to organizing sessions, this involves the preparation of country briefs, drafting of lists of issues, of draft recommendations and decisions on individual complaints, supporting follow-up procedures, and organizing meetings of States Parties as well as with other stakeholders.
During the proposed duration of the internship, the intern will primarily be assigned to assist the Section with its work on providing support to the UN Treaty Bodies. However, given the size of the Section and the overwhelming demands placed upon it, tasks may be largely based on current demands and needs. Tasks may include:
(The Section will do its utmost to ensure the incumbent will have the opportunity to gain some work experience on any of his/her particular interests within the work of the Section - to be discussed with their Supervisor).
Participants in the internship program are selected from graduate students and holders of graduate level degrees in disciplines related to the work of the United Nations, e.g. International Law, Political Science, History, Social Sciences. Preference will be given to those, within these disciplines, who have specialized in human rights issues. A course in international human rights law is required. Excellent writing skills in English are a prerequisite, and advanced knowledge of French and/or Spanish is a strong asset. The applicant should be able to work autonomously but also within a team, often under pressure of frequent and tight deadlines. Demonstrated political judgment and discretion are essential. The selection of the extern shall be subject to regular OHCHR procedures.
The Petitions Unit of the Petitions and Inquiries Section in the Human Rights Treaties Branch is the Secretariat for treaty bodies with regard to individual complaints. The main intern's role would be to support the Petitions Unit in screening incoming correspondence and evaluate if a prima facie case has been presented or if additional information needs to be sought from the petitioner. During the internship the interns will have the opportunity to follow individual complaint proceedings from different UN human rights treaty bodies and to assist human rights officers with legal issues related to pending cases, such as request for interim measures, objections to the admissibility, etc. Ability to speak multiple languages is useful but not required.
For more information on the individual complaints procedure, please refer to the website http://ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/TBPetitions/Pages/HRTBPetitions.aspx.
The aim of the Rule of Law and Democracy Section (ROLDS) is to address key challenges in human rights protection, such as armed conflict and violence, impunity, democratic deficit, and weak institutions, through the elaboration of approaches leading to greater country engagement to be pursued through work on the rule of law. The Section's outputs include:
Legal analysis and comments on draft laws and technical advice on how such legislation can be strengthened to fully respect human rights.
Operational tools, best practices, concept papers, guidance notes, and legal advice to support justice and accountability initiatives.
Support and coordination of OHCHR's lead responsibilities in the rule of law and democracy area pursuant to the Policy Committee decisions, including on transitional justice and investigations, and within the framework of the Secretary General's Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
The extern will assist, under the general supervision of the Chief of Section, in the work of Human Rights Officers responsible for one or more of the thematic areas of access to justice and the role of courts in human rights protection, transitional justice, counter-terrorism and human rights, accountability, democracy, and administrative legal issues. Tasks may include:
(This Section will do its utmost to ensure the incumbent will have the opportunity to gain some work experience on his/her particular interests - to be discussed with their Supervisor).
The Women's Human Rights and Gender Unit (WRGU) was established in early 2007 with a mandate focused on the promotion and protection of women's human rights as well as gender mainstreaming. The Section develops and supports the High Commissioner leadership on gender and women's rights, produces thematic reports, statements, and tools pertaining to women's rights and gender, and conducts training, capacity-building, and briefings in these areas. The Section also facilitates dialogue among stakeholders, and develops a network of experts and NGOs in order to leverage expertise and advance the women's human rights agenda.
The extern will primarily be assigned to assist the Section with its work on women's human rights and gender equality. Tasks may include:
(The Section will do its utmost to ensure the incumbent will have the opportunity to gain some work experience on any of his/her particular interests - to be discussed with their Supervisor).
The trafficking portfolio works on assisting states in drafting legislation related to combatting trafficking in persons. Currently a focus on trafficking for the purpose of organ removal was identified, where human rights guidelines will be developed. Several issue briefs are being planned such as Trafficking vs Smuggling, trafficking in conflict and other topics to be identified. materials for victim identification by Cabin crews is being developed, as well as awareness raising material for passengers. The trafficking portfolio is leading the rule of law and governance group within the SDG alliance 8.7. Currently, the portfolio is being managed by the Anti-Racial Discrimination Section within the Thematic Engagement Division.
To learn more about the OHCHR, please visit their website.
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