The UN Human Rights fellowship programmes provide selected individuals an intensive learning opportunity about international human rights mechanisms and standards. We administer six programmes, aimed at strengthening the capacity of particular groups or individuals in their work in the field of human rights.
Overview of our Fellowship Programme
Fellowship Programme for people of African descent
The Fellowship programme for people of African descent is a three-week comprehensive human rights training for people of African descent from the diaspora, who are engaged in promoting the rights of people of African descent.
Recipients: People of African descent
Indigenous Fellowship Programme
The Indigenous Fellowship Programme is a comprehensive human rights training programme designed to build the capacity and expertise of indigenous representatives on the UN system and mechanisms dealing with human rights in general and indigenous issues in particular.
Recipients: Indigenous peoples
Trust Fund to Support the Participation of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the work of the Human Rights Council
As part of its scope, this Fund supports a fellowship programme for government officials from LDCs/SIDS, who undertake three-month work placements relating to the work of the Human Rights Council.
Recipients: Government officials from LDCs/SIDS
Minorities Fellowship Programme
The Minorities Fellowship Programme is a comprehensive training programme for human rights and minority rights defenders belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities.
Recipients: Human rights and minority rights defenders belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities.
Fellowship Programme of the OHCHR Humanitarian Funds
This long-term Fellowship programme gives members of civil society organizations the opportunity to gain first-hand experience with the UN human rights system. In particular, organizations get involved in managing grants for the Fund for Victims of Torture and the Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery.
Recipients: Staff members and affiliated members of human rights organizations with extensive knowledge and working experience on human rights issues, in particular in relation to torture and/or contemporary forms of slavery.
Staff of national human rights institutions
The Fellowship programme gives staff members of national human rights institutions from all over the world a better understanding and appreciation of the international human rights system.
Recipients: Staff members of “A” status national human rights institutions
Staff of Regional Human Rights Mechanisms
The Fellowship programme gives staff members of Regional Human Rights Mechanisms the opportunity to gain first-hand experience, knowledge and skills in relation to interacting with international human rights mechanisms.
Recipients: Staff members of regional human rights mechanisms
The Fellowship programme gives the selected lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or intersex activist hands on experience within the United Nations human rights system, and an opportunity to transfer this knowledge once back in their home country. It is developed under the strategic direction and commitment of the Office to have a more gender-diverse and inclusive workforce.
Recipients: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or intersex activists
Fellows who participated in the programme
| |Fellow: “Colourism” is a hidden human rights challenge
“There is a correlation between skin colour and social class,” said Stephanie Sewell, a UN Human Rights 2019 African Descent Fellow. Sewell says colourism, discrimination based on skin tone, impacts the human rights of the majority of Jamaicans.
5 February 2020
| |Mueda Nawanat’s fight for the right to nationality
Mueda Nawanat was born without a nationality, and only became a citizen of Thailand, the country where she was born, when she was 21. Today, she is an advocate for stateless people and has helped many obtain citizenship. She is also a UN Human Rights Fellow.
31 January 2020
| |"Because your voice is valid"
Law student and UN Human Rights Fellow, Mary Consolata Namagambe, has decided to challenge the exclusion she and other people of African descent endure in a majority-white Danish society.
29 March 2019
| |Learning how to better defend his community
"I am going to share (what I have learned)…with my community, so they can know how to defend themselves, but also know their rights," said Edwin Álvarez, Vice President of the Organization of Ethnic and Community Development in Honduras. Álvarez was recently in Geneva to receive training in human rights and advocacy as one of the 2018 African Descent Fellows.
26 December 2018
| |Working for indigenous recognition in French Guyana
Aulagéa Therese believes one of the biggest challenges facing his people is a lack of national recognition. A member of the Kali’na people in French Guyana, Therese was selected as one of the 2016 UN Human Rights Office Indigenous Fellows.
12 August 2016
| |Starting young to help her community
“I started being an activist by the time I was in high school,” said Milka Chepkorir Kuto, a member of the Sengwer indigenous people of Kenya. Kuto was in Geneva to obtain training in human rights and advocacy as one of the 2016 UN Human Rights Office Indigenous Fellows.
8 August 2016
| |“Take action! Being silent is dangerous.”
Charlene Apok believes there are many obstacles facing indigenous peoples when they try to advocate for their rights at an international level. “This system was not made for us,” she said. Apok, a member of the Iñupiaq tribe in the USA, was a recent UN Human Rights Office Indigenous Fellow.
28 July 2016
| |Activists focus on health as a human right for indigenous peoples
Indigenous communities across the globe are facing a health care crisis, where the lack of access to health care has resulted in a rise in illnesses and even suicides. “It’s an epidemic facing so many indigenous communities,” said Dr. Hannah McGlade, Senior Indigenous Fellow for the UN Human Rights Office.
22 July 2016
| |Empowering indigenous peoples in Nepal
UN Human Rights Office Senior Indigenous Fellow Subha Ghale from Nepal is working on empowering women from indigenous communities in her home country.
7 August 2015
| |Protecting and promoting minority rights in Kyrgyzstan
Utkir Dzhabbarov believes that learning how to better use the UN human rights instruments and mechanisms is key to help improve the lives of ethnic minority communities in Kyrgyzstan. Dzhabbarov, who belongs to the Uzbek minority community in Kyrgyzstan, was a participant in the UN Human Rights Office Minority Fellowship Programme.
3 March 2015
| |Helping to inform and improve the lives of Afro-Nicaraguans
Shaun Carol Campbell Bush believes that Nicaraguans of African descent need to be more proactive to have their rights recognized. As a participant in the UN Human Rights Office Minority Fellowship programme, she believes she will learn how to use human rights mechanisms to assist her community to do this.
28 January 2015
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