International Services for Human Rights

The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) is an independent, nongovernmental organization (NGO) dedicated to promoting and protecting human rights. ISHR achieves this by supporting human rights defenders, strengthening human rights systems, and leading and participating in coalitions for human rights change at the international and regional level.

A placement with this agency provides students with an excellent overview of the UN human rights system as a whole, and facilitates the development of skills in critical analysis. 

Nature of the Extern's Work and Supervision
Externs are required to monitor UN human rights meetings, including the Human Rights Council, treaty body sessions, and working groups. Interns substantively contribute to ISHR's publications and analytical material, in particular the regular online publications. Externs are also given the opportunity to be involved in ISHR's work with regional human rights defenders' networks, particularly in Africa, and to assist with the preparation of ISHR engagement with human rights bodies at the regional level. Externs will also learn about how an international human rights NGO functions, and gain extensive exposure to UN human rights mechanisms.

The extern will also work on legal research projects, depending on current developments in the UN system at the time.  Examples of previous research include research on the consistency of recommendations under the Human Rights Council's universal periodic review (UPR) with international law standards, and contributions to ISHR submissions o General Comments developed by treaty bodies.

Important Information for Students
A strong background in either international human rights law or politics and knowledge of other languages, in particular French or Spanish, is preferred.

To be considered, applicants should:

  • be motivated to pursue a career in human rights and have a particular interest in the UN human rights system;  
  • have an excellent standard of written and spoken English;  
  • be able to report thoroughly and accurately on the meetings;  
  • be flexible, including willingness to cover the evening sessions of some UN meetings;  
  • be able to work as a member of a team and willing to participate in a variety of tasks, as required.

The student will be asked to complete an application form and a short writing exercise as part of his or her application.

To learn more about the International Service for Human Rights, please visit their website.