dcsimg
English Site French Site Spanish Site Russian Site Arabic Site Chinese Site OHCHR header
Make a donation to OHCHR


Internship Programme


Purpose of the internship programme

1. Internships for graduate students are available at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). These internships are intended to:

a) increase the intern's understanding of current human rights issues at the international level and give them an insight into the work of the United Nations and OHCHR in particular; and
b) provide OHCHR and the United Nations Human Rights mechanisms with the assistance and contribution of outstanding young students or graduates.

2. The relationship between the Organization and the intern is one of mutual benefit. Interns are assigned to an organizational unit of OHCHR according to the needs of the Office and their own areas of interest. They are involved, inter alia, in: researching human rights issues, drafting analytical papers and reports, providing substantive and technical servicing of meetings, backstopping fact-finding and technical cooperation activities as well as field operations and supporting other OHCHR activities, depending on the exigencies of the Office. As part of the internship programme, OHCHR endeavours to brief interns through a series of information sessions on human rights issues conducted by staff of the Office.

Qualifications required

Applicants to the United Nations internship programme must at the time of application meet one of the following requirements:

(a) Be enrolled in a graduate school programme (second university   degree or equivalent, or higher);
(b) Be enrolled in the final academic year of a first university degree programme (minimum Bachelor’s level or equivalent);
(c) Have graduated with a university degree (as defined in 3.1 (a) and (b) above) and, if selected, must commence the internship within a one-year period of graduation, as provided for in section 11.4 of the present instruction.

3. Participants in the internship programme are selected from graduate students and holders of graduate level degrees in disciplines related to the work of the United Nations, e.g. International Law, Political Science, History, Social Sciences. Preference will be given to those, within these disciplines, who have specialized in human rights issues. Typically, interns do not have previous working experience of this nature. Applicants must be sponsored by an academic institution and must have a good command of at least two of the six official languages of the United Nations, i.e. English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Russian and Chinese. Drafting ability in either English or French is required.

Please use the following table to check your eligibility for the Internship Programme before you send us an application:


Eligibility Self Check Table:

Yes

No

1. (a) Be enrolled in a graduate school programme (second university   degree or equivalent, or higher);
(b) Be enrolled in the final academic year of a first university degree programme (minimum Bachelor’s level or equivalent);
(c) Have graduated with a university degree (as defined in 3.1 (a) and (b) above) and, if selected, must commence the internship within a one-year period of graduation, as provided for in section 11.4 of the present instruction.

       

__

__

2. You are able to obtain the necessary visa and to arrange your travel to the United Nations.

__

__

3. You are able to cover the costs of travel, accommodation, as well as living expenses of the internship (approx. 1.800 chf/month).

__

__

4. If selected, you will be able to prove valid medical insurance coverage for your stay in Switzerland, provide a medical certificate stating that you are in good health and prove your enrolment in graduate studies.

__

__

5. You are able to communicate fluently in English and/or French.

__

__

Note: To be eligible, you must answer "Yes" to all 5 questions. If you answer "No" to one or more of the above question(s), you should consider postponing your application until the above requirements are met.

Internship dates and duration

4. There are 2 semester in a year and OHCHR Headquarters only host approximately 50 interns at any given time throughout the year. There are two intern selection campaigns each year: the first deadline for receipt of applications is 30 April and the second deadline is 31 October. However we may also accept applications on an ad-hoc basis, application submitted outside the usual selection campaign.

OHCHR internships are for a minimum period of two months and may be renewed up to 6 months maximum. When applying for an internship, candidates should indicate the semester and the dates of the period for which they wish to be considered.

Deadline for application Internal selection process Internship period
30 April June/May Between July - December
31 October November/December Between January - June

Conditions of service

5. According to the prevailing Swiss legislation, asylum seekers are not permitted to seek any form of employment, whether paid or unpaid, including internship. The legislation also extends to international organisations such as OHCHR.

6. Interns are assigned to work with a supervisor who is responsible for providing them with a description of duties and a workplan. Upon completion of the internship, both the supervisor and the intern are required to complete a final report describing what was achieved during the internship. In addition, every intern is requested to complete an evaluation questionnaire on his/her assignment and to submit it to OHCHR's Administrative Section.

7. United Nations internships are not remunerated and interns are not considered officials or staff members of the Organization. Travel costs and living expenses must be borne by the interns themselves or by a sponsoring institution. Interns are responsible for making their own travel arrangements and for obtaining visas. In Geneva, interns are provided, upon arrival, with a Swiss ID card for the duration of the internship by OHCHR's Administrative Section. They are also provided with a U.N. ground pass, a library card and general information about OHCHR and the United Nations.

8. The United Nations accepts no responsibility for costs arising from accidents and/or illness incurred during an internship. Interns must have their own health insurance. In case of illness or other circumstances which might prevent the completion of the internship, interns will inform their supervisor and OHCHR's Administrative Section.

9. There is no expectancy of employment at the end of the internship and interns cannot apply for any regular or temporary position with the United Nations during the internship and for a period of six months following the expiration date thereof.

10. Interns are expected to work full-time and to carry out the duties assigned to them. They do not accrue annual leave during the period of the internship. Otherwise they are bound by the same duties and obligations as regular staff members; in particular, all confidential and unpublished information obtained during the internship may not be used by interns without the written authorization of the United Nations.

Procedure for applying

11. Applicants should submit the following documentation:

  • a duly completed, stamped, dated and signed internship application form;
  • a list of courses taken, transcripts of grades or diplomas;
  • a written sample of research work or an abstract of academic papers (3-12 pages maximum);
  • a proof of enrolment in graduate studies;
  • a proof of enrolment in a health insurance plan;

For information see also the Administrative Instruction about the Internship Programme (ST/AI/2014/1)

12. Selected candidates are normally informed approximately one month before the starting date of the internship. Due to the large number of applicants, OHCHR is unable to inform unsuccessful candidates. Unsuccessful candidates may re-apply for following periods.

Address for applications

Internship Programme - Internship Coordinator - Administrative Section (for both internships and stipends)
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
or
Email address: internship@ohchr.org

Please send all applications either as scanned documents in PDF format or as WORD attachments and limit the number of documents to two maximum. The naming convention for documents is:
LAST NAME First Name - Application
Ex: SMITH John - Writing Samples


Related links
Application form in Word

Administrative Instruction  ST/AI/2014/1 (PDF)

UN and other vacancies
Fellowship Programmes