Org. Setting and Reporting
The Office of the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is the Secretariat department responsible for strengthening international human rights mechanisms; enhancing equality and countering discrimination; combating impunity and strengthening accountability and the rule of law; integrating human rights in development and in the economic sphere; widening the democratic space; and early warning and protection of human rights in situations of conflict, violence and insecurity.
This announcement broadcasts international internship assignments with the Special Procedures Branch (SPB). Created in 2006 through the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 60/251, which established the Human Rights Council (HRC), the Special Procedures Branch is responsible for thematic research and policy development, human rights mainstreaming across all work areas of the United Nations system, development of tools and learning packages and provision of expertise to a variety of stakeholders on a wide range of human rights themes. The Branch lends support to independent human rights experts - Special Rapporteurs or Independent Experts, together referred to as mandate holders, appointed by the Human Rights Council with mandates to report and advise on human rights from a thematic perspective.
The Branch comprises six entities, specifically: i) Groups and Accountability Section, which provides support to a group of independent human rights experts (also referred to as mandate holders) appointed by the United Human Rights Council to report and advise on thematic human rights issues which include: albinism, minorities, migrants, indigenous peoples, internally displaced persons, persons with disabilities, older persons, slavery, sexual orientation and gender identity, sale of children and mercenarism; ii) the Sustainable Human Development Section, which provides support to a group of independent human rights experts (also referred to as mandate holders) appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council to report and advise on thematic human rights issues such as business and human rights, the environment, food, foreign debt, housing, poverty, toxics and water and sanitation; iii) the Protection, Religion, Accountability and Human Security Section, which provides support to a group of independent human rights experts (also referred to as mandate holders) appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council to report and advise on thematic human rights issues such as arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, countering terrorism, religion or belief, privacy, torture, summary executions and unilateral coercive measures; iv) the Justice, Protection and Social Rights Unit provides substantive, logistic and administrative support to a number of UN Special Procedures established by the Human Rights Council such as the work of the Special Rapporteurs on transitional justice, freedom of opinion or expression, human rights defenders, independence of judges and lawyers, right to education, right to health, cultural rights, and leprosy; v) the Equality, Non-Discrimination and Participation Unit, which provides support to 8 special procedures mandates, namely those on violence against women, discrimination against women, trafficking in persons, racism, freedom of assembly and association, international order and international solidarity, right to development; and vi) the Coordination Information and Communications Unit, which supports the Special Procedures system as a whole, in particular its Coordination Committee, facilitates and ensures coordination and coherence in the implementation of the working methods of SP, the Manual of Operations and the Code of Conduct, supports the communications process of SP, coordinates the SP engagement with the intergovernmental bodies as well as their increased engagement with the UN system at headquarters and in the field, and enhances the visibility and impact of the work of SP.
For more information on the Special Procedures Branch and its work, including an overview of the different themes covered, go to: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/SP/Pages/Welcomepage.aspx
Based in Geneva, Switzerland, under the overall direction of the Chief of Branch and the guidance of the respective Chief of Section, the intern reports to the Human Rights Officer in the assigned work unit. This assignment shall be offered for an initial period of three (3) months, renewable for a combined period of six (6) months, upon further approval by the supervisor, with an initial commencement date ranging/starting from August 2021 to December 2021.
At the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the recruitment and employment of staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity, with due regard to geographic diversity. All employment decisions are made on the basis of qualifications and organizational needs. The United Nations is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment of mutual respect. The United Nations recruits and employs staff regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, race, religious, cultural and ethnic backgrounds or disabilities. Reasonable accommodation for applicants with disabilities may be provided to support participation in the recruitment process when requested and indicated in the application.
This internship is an UNPAID and full-time engagement that provides a framework through which students from diverse academic backgrounds gain exposure to the work of the United Nations by way of their service within Secretariat entities. Applicants should have a demonstrated keen interest in the work of the United Nations with a personal commitment to the ideals of the Charter, and have the demonstrated ability to successfully interact with individuals of different cultural backgrounds and beliefs - which includes willingness to understand and be tolerant of differing opinions and views.
IN THE CONTEXT OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, APPLICANTS MAY BE REQUESTED TO UNDERTAKE THE INTERNSHIP REMOTELY IN VIEW OF CONSTRAINTS REGARDING VISA ISSUANCE, INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL AND ACCESS TO UN PREMISES. APPLICANTS MUST BE WILLING AND PREPARED TO UNDERTAKE THE INTERNSHIP REMOTELY FOR A PART OR THE ENTIRETY OF THE INTERNSHIP.
Applicants should indicate their present matriculation status and period of availability in the application cover letter.
The intern shall support OHCHR in fulfilling its mission to work for the protection of all human rights for all people; to help empower people to realize their rights; and to assist those responsible for upholding such rights in ensuring that they are implemented.
Daily responsibilities of the Special Procedures human rights intern will depend on activities carried-out within the assigned work unit and the individual's background. Duties may include but are not limited to contributing to thematic reports or studies, including research of related literature, international law and jurisprudence and, in particular, the intern may: assist in the preparation of official country visits, in particular through the drafting of country specific human rights assessments; analyze human rights issues contained in cases and complaints addressed to the mandate holders; draft letters on particular cases and complaints taken up by mandate holders, including summarizing the human rights violations alleged in the case and preparing a short legal analysis of these violations; collect information and conduct research for the preparation of briefing notes, statements and other documents; take notes of meetings with different stakeholders, in particular civil society representatives; attend sessions of the Human Rights Council (HRC) and assisting with the preparation of related activities and events; assist in the organization of meetings and seminars; and perform other related duties as requested by supervisor, as appropriate.
PROFESSIONALISM: Shows pride in work and in achievements; Demonstrates professional competence and mastery of subject matter; Is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results; Is motivated by professional rather than personal concerns; Shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; Remains calm in stressful situations.
COMMUNICATION: Speaks and writes clearly and effectively; listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately; asks questions to clarify, and exhibits interest in having two-way communication; tailors language, tone, style and format to match the audience; demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed.
TEAMWORK: Works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organizational goals; solicits input by genuinely valuing others' ideas and expertise; is willing to learn from others; places team agenda before personal agenda; supports and acts in accordance with final group decision, even when such decisions may not entirely reflect own position; shares credit for team accomplishments and accepts joint responsibility for team shortcomings.
CLIENT ORIENTATION: Considers all those to whom services are provided to be "clients" and seeks to see things from clients' point of view; establishes and maintains productive partnerships with clients by gaining their trust and respect; identifies clients' needs and matches them to appropriate solutions; monitors ongoing developments inside and outside the clients' environment to keep informed and anticipate problems; keeps clients informed of progress or setbacks in projects; meets timeline for delivery of products or services to client.
To qualify for the United Nations Secretariat internship programme, applicants must, at the time of submission, be a graduate or enrolled in a graduate school programme (i.e. Master’s degree or equivalent degree, or higher) or, be a graduate or enrolled in the final academic year of a first-level university degree programme (i.e. Bachelor’s degree or equivalent degree) preferably in the area of law, political science, international relations, social sciences or a related field, OR have graduated with a university degree as defined above AND, if selected, must commence the internship on the date specified in the Acceptance letter.
APPLICANTS ARE NOT REQUIRED TO HAVE PROFESSIONAL WORK EXPERIENCE FOR PARTICIPATION IN THE PROGRAMME.
No working experience is required to apply for the United Nations Internship Programme. Your training, education, advance course work or skills should benefit the United Nations during your internship.
English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this internship fluency in English or French is required, knowledge of the other is an asset. Knowledge of another United Nations official language would be an advantage (i.e. Arabic, Chinese, Russian or Spanish).
Incomplete applications/personal history profiles (PHPs) will not be reviewed. Special Procedures Branch hiring managers will directly contact short-listed applicants for an interview. For this reason, in the application cover letter it is important that you:
-Specify your general interest in OHCHR, including in the human rights issues, including their political, ethnic, racial, gender equality and socio-economic dimensions and, particularly in the work of the Special Procedures Branch;
-Indicate the scheduled graduation for university study currently underway or more or actual graduation date for recently obtained degree;
-Indicate information technology (IT) skills and programs in which you are proficient;
-Specify your period of availability and earliest commencement date; and
-Provide three references in support of submission.
Download the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which is available for the hearing impaired, in the official United Nations working languages at:
For English click here on https://www.ohchr.org/EN/UDHR/Pages/Language.aspx?LangID=eng, for French click here on https://www.ohchr.org/EN/UDHR/Pages/Language.aspx?LangID=frn
United Nations Considerations
FAMILY RELATIONS: Applicants who are children or siblings of a staff member shall not be eligible to apply for an internship at the United Nations. For the purpose of participation in the internship programme, "child" means: (a) the child of a staff member; (b) the child of the spouse of a staff member (stepchild); or (c) the son- or daughter-in-law of a staff member. "Sibling" includes a half-sibling or step-sibling.
CONDITIONS AND TERMS: Download the Secretariat UN Internship programme administrative policy in either of the Organization's official working languages (i.e. English and French) at: http://undocs.org/ST/AI/2020/1
APPLICATION PROCESS: You may view the full list of United Nations Secretariat employment opportunities at: https://careers.un.org. Qualified individuals who have created an Inspira account may apply directly at: https://inspira.un.org/
WORKING HOURS: Interns must adhere to the established weekly working hours of the duty station where the assignment is located. Working hours shall not exceed 5 days per week (40 hours), including one hour lunch break.
According to article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the employment of the staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity. Candidates will not be considered for employment with the United Nations if they have committed violations of international human rights law, violations of international humanitarian law, sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, or sexual harassment, or if there are reasonable grounds to believe that they have been involved in the commission of any of these acts. The term “sexual exploitation” means any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another. The term “sexual abuse” means the actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions. The term “sexual harassment” means any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that might reasonably be expected or be perceived to cause offence or humiliation, when such conduct interferes with work, is made a condition of employment or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment, and when the gravity of the conduct warrants the termination of the perpetrator’s working relationship. Candidates who have committed crimes other than minor traffic offences may not be considered for employment.
Due regard will be paid to the importance of recruiting the staff on as wide a geographical basis as possible. The United Nations places no restrictions on the eligibility of men and women to participate in any capacity and under conditions of equality in its principal and subsidiary organs. The United Nations Secretariat is a non-smoking environment.
The paramount consideration in the appointment, transfer, or promotion of staff shall be the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity. By accepting an offer of appointment, United Nations staff members are subject to the authority of the Secretary-General and assignment by him or her to any activities or offices of the United Nations in accordance with staff regulation 1.2 (c). In this context, all internationally recruited staff members shall be required to move periodically to discharge new functions within or across duty stations under conditions established by the Secretary-General.
Applicants are urged to follow carefully all instructions available in the online recruitment platform, inspira. For more detailed guidance, applicants may refer to the Manual for the Applicant, which can be accessed by clicking on “Manuals” hyper-link on the upper right side of the inspira account-holder homepage.
The evaluation of applicants will be conducted on the basis of the information submitted in the application according to the evaluation criteria of the job opening and the applicable internal legislations of the United Nations including the Charter of the United Nations, resolutions of the General Assembly, the Staff Regulations and Rules, administrative issuances and guidelines. Applicants must provide complete and accurate information pertaining to their personal profile and qualifications according to the instructions provided in inspira to be considered for the current job opening. No amendment, addition, deletion, revision or modification shall be made to applications that have been submitted. Candidates under serious consideration for selection will be subject to reference checks to verify the information provided in the application.
Job openings advertised on the Careers Portal will be removed at 11:59 p.m. (New York time) on the deadline date.