United Nations Human Rights Internship Programme

Job/Internship in Art and Humanities
  • Switzerland
  • Apply Before : January 31, 2021

Opportunity Details

  • Opportunity ID 14462

Opportunity Description

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is accepting application for Its Internship program.

Details of the UN Human Rights internship:

Posting Title: Internship – Human Rights (the Middle East and North Africa) Temporary Job Opening

Job Title: Intern – Human Rights

Organization: UN

Department/Office: Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

Duty Station: Geneva, Switzerland

Application Period: 4 Feb 2020 – 31 Jan 2021

Internship Period: Three months (renewable to 6 months)

About OHCHR:

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is the Secretariat department in charge of consolidating international human rights mechanisms; fostering equality and defying discrimination; fighting impunity and enhancing accountability and the rule of law; incorporating human rights in development and in the economic area; expanding the democratic space; and early warning and protection of human rights in circumstances of dispute, violence, and insecurity.

About the internship:

This announcement advertises an international internship programme with the Middle East & North Africa Section (MENAS). Located in the Asia-Pacific, Middle East and North Africa Branch (APMENAB) of the Field Operations and Technical Cooperation Division (FOTCD), which seeks to coordinate the evaluation and implementation of the Office’s engagement, the internship will consist of:

  • Keeping effective partnerships with Governments, regional institutions, national stakeholders (e.g., national human rights institutions, NGOs, etc., as well as United Nations Country Teams (UNCTs));
  • Updating and advising the High Commissioner, the Secretary-General, United Treaty Bodies and Special Procedures Mandate Holders on country conditions;
  • Providing follow-up to recommendations by the international human rights system, including the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the Middle East & North Africa Section, in cooperation with other OHCHR entities; and
  • Undertaking OHCHR’s work at the country-level in the respective region of assignment;

This is an UNPAID and full-time engagement internship that provides a ground through which students from different academic backgrounds gain experience of and become subject to the work of the United Nations by serving within Secretariat entities.


Based in Geneva, Switzerland, under the overall direction of the Chief of Section, the intern will report to the Human Rights Officer in the designated work unit. Daily responsibilities of the interns will vary according to the individual’s background, and duties may include but are not limited to:

  • Assisting the Section in the systematic gathering and analysis of information concerning the human rights situation of countries in the assigned region and in preparing the reports, documents, and other written materials thereon;
  • Help Desk Officers in investigating and drafting of individual cases of assumed human rights violations;
  • Support Desk Officers in meeting the demands for information concerning the human rights situation in the region and/ or countries concerned;
  • Assist Desk Officers in preparing and updating Country profiles, updating packages, daily and monthly updates/reports;
  • Support Desk Officers in the preparation of pertinent documents on thematic and country-specific human rights issues;
  • Support Desk Officers in taking minutes of meetings, taking part in side-events, Human Rights Council sessions, Treaty Bodies review and Universal Periodic Review (UPR) review; and Perform other related duties as assigned by supervisor;

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Qualification and eligibility criteria

Applicants should be keenly interested in the work of the United Nations with a personal commitment to the principles of the Charter and have the established ability to successfully communicate with people of diverse cultural backgrounds and beliefs – which includes enthusiasm to understand and be tolerant of different opinions and views.


  • The applicant has to show pride in work and in achievements; demonstrate professional competency and mastery of subject matter;
  • Be faithful and efficient in fulfilling commitments, meeting deadlines, and achieving results;
  • Be motivated by professional rather than personal concerns;
  • Shows persistence when confronting intricate problems or challenges; and
  • Keeps composure in stressful situations.


  • Has clear and effective spoken and written skills;
  • Listen to others, properly interprets messages from others, and responds suitably;
  • Seek clarification and display interest in having mutual communication; modifies language, tone, style, and manner to match the audience; and
  • Exhibit openness in sharing information and keeping people informed.


  • Has to work collaboratively with colleagues to obtain organizational goals;
  • Ask input by genuinely respecting others’ ideas and expertise; is willing to learn from others;
  • Advance team agenda rather than personal agenda; support and take actions in agreement with final group decision; and
  • Gives credit to team accomplishments and admits joint responsibility for team weaknesses.


  • The intern has to consider all those service recipients to be “clients” and attempt to see things from clients’ point of view;
  • Establish and maintain dynamic partnerships with clients by getting their trust and respect;
  • Identify clients’ needs and adapts them to the right solutions;
  • Oversee ongoing developments inside and outside the clients’ environment to stay informed and foresee problems; provides clients with information on progress or setbacks in projects; and
  • Catch timeline for delivery of products or services to the client.


To qualify for the United Nations Secretariat internship programme, applicants must, at the time of their application, be:

  • Registered in a graduate school programme (i.e. Master’s degree or equivalent degree, or higher) or in the final academic year of a first-level university degree (i.e. Bachelor’s degree or equivalent degree), in the area of law, political science, international relations, social sciences or a related field (preferred);
  • OR have completed a university degree as defined above AND, if selected, must begin the internship work within a one-year period from the date of graduation.

Work Experience


English and French are the two working languages of the UN Secretariat. For this programme, fluency in English is mandatory. Knowledge of Arabic would be a plus.


You can download the United Nations Human Rights Internship program terms and conditions in either of the Secretariat’s official working languages (English and French) here. The United Nations charges no fee at any stage of the selection process.

The United Nation’s commitment is based on building a diverse and inclusive workforce and invites applicants from diverse backgrounds and communities/nationalities, including but not limited to, migrants and/or disabled individuals.


Interns must comply with the established weekly working hours of the duty location where the assignment is done though not more than five days per week (35 hours) and a one-hour lunch break.


Applicants must provide complete and precise information relating to their personal profile and qualifications as per the instructions provided in inspira to be considered for the current job announcement.

Imperfect applications/personal history profiles (PHPs) will not be considered. The short-listed applicants will be directly contacted for an interview by OHCHR MENA managers.

Therefore, in the application cover letter, it is imperative that you:


  • Specify your general passion for OHCHR, including in the areas of international human rights, including in the Middle East and North Africa region and/or the activity of the Section;
  • Designate recently earned an academic degree or the scheduled graduation date for university study currently underway;
  • Determine your availability period and earliest initiation date;
  • Demonstrate information technology (IT) skills and programs in which you are skillful;
  • Specify three references who know you well and can verify your application information.

The evaluation of applicants will take place on the basis of the information provided in the application in accordance with the evaluation criteria of the job opening and the pertinent wide-ranging internal legislations of the United Nations including its Charter.


Qualified international applicants can submit an online application through the online recruitment platform after completing the requirements of the job.

Qualified individuals who have previously established an Inspira account may apply directly to this with the United Nations Secretariat at this link.

Applicants are advised to follow all instructions available in the online recruitment platform, inspira carefully. For more detailed direction, applicants may refer to the Manual for the Applicant, which can be found by clicking on the “Manuals” hyper-link on the upper right side of the inspira account-holder homepage.

Apply now

For more details, please refer to the UN Career’s website.

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