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.
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.
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.
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.
While the precise tasks of interns vary, taking into account the schedule of treaty bodies, the regular and special sessions of the Human Rights Council, and the Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Reviews, as well as the specific skills, competencies, and areas of interest of the respective intern, the main tasks in which interns at our sections are involved are the following:
In addition, where occasions arise, interns may participate in bi- and multilateral meetings of UNHCR with government and other agency partners, as well as in training seminars or briefings offered by UNHCR colleagues.
Interns may occasionally be asked to offer support to other units within the Division of International Protection.
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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