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United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees: Human Rights Liaison Unit

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is mandated by the United Nations to lead and coordinate international action for the worldwide protection of refugees and the resolution of refugee problems. In support of its core activities on behalf of refugees, UNHCR's Executive Committee and the UN General Assembly have authorized the organization's involvement with other groups. These include former refugees who have returned to their homeland, internally displaced people, and people who are stateless or whose nationality is disputed.

UNHCR is an impartial organization, offering protection and assistance to refugees and others on the basis of their needs and irrespective of their race, religion, political opinion, or gender. In its efforts to protect refugees and to promote solutions to their problems, UNHCR works in partnership with governments, regional organizations, international, and nongovernmental organizations. UNHCR is committed to the principle of participation, believing that refugees and others who benefit from the organization's activities should be consulted over decisions which affect their lives.

Human Rights Liaison Unit
The Human Rights Liaison Unit is part of the Policy and Law Pillar ("Pillar I") of the Division of International Protection (DIP). The Unit aims at promoting the effective use of international human rights law and UN human rights mechanisms to strengthen the protection of persons of concern to UNHCR.

Nature of the Extern's Work and Supervision
The externs assist in the finalization of UNHCR's confidential comments to the seven human rights treaty bodies, attend the treaty body sessions, and prepare feedback to UNHCR colleagues covering the countries under examination. Externs also follow proceedings at the Human Rights Council, and provide feedback to UNHCR colleagues on discussions of relevance to the work of UNHCR. In addition, externs are required to undertake legal research and analyses on various topics of relevance to UNHCR's work. More...

Important Information for Students
Externs working with the Human Rights Liaison Unit must have studied transnational law and human rights law. Knowledge and/or experience in the field of refugee law will be highly valued. Fluency in English is a prerequisite, and knowledge of another UN language would be an asset. While not being a formal requirement, any relevant work experience will of course also be taken into account in the selection of interns.

To learn more about the UNHCR, please visit their website.


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