United Nations (UN) Human Rights Internship 2021

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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 OHCHR Southern Africa Regional Office (SARO). Established in 1998, the Southern Africa Regional Office assists States (i.e. government ministries, Parliaments, the judiciary and law enforcement agencies), United Nations agencies, national human rights institutions, and civil society organizations with the goal of achieving the full realization of human rights in the region. The Regional Office provides training, advisory and capacity-building services to stakeholders and covers fourteen (14) countries in the region, specifically: Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland)), Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Further, the Office works closely with regional mechanisms, such as the African Union (AU) and sub-regional mechanisms, such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC).


For more information on the UN Human Rights in Southern Africa visit: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/UN-Human-Rights-in-Southern-Africa.aspx

Based in Pretoria, South Africa, under the overall direction of the Regional Representative/ Head of Office, the intern reports to the Human Rights Officer in the assigned work unit. The assignment shall be 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 January 2021 to January 2022.

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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.

Responsibilities

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 Southern Africa region human rights intern will depend on the individual's background and duties may include but are not limited to assisting with the preparation and organization of activities related to specific thematic and country aspects of the human rights situation in the sub-region, including from a gender perspective and, in particular, the intern may:

  • Conduct substantive research and analysis and prepare analytical briefs and updates on specific thematic and/or country aspects of the human rights situation in the sub-region; collect and analyze human rights data and indicators in the sub-region, including gender-specific data and indicators;
  • support activities to promote State party, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) engagement with human rights mechanisms and strengthening national mechanisms for reporting and follow up;
  • support engagement with UN country teams in the sub-region on human rights;
  • support engagement on early warning and humanitarian action in the sub-region;
  • provide support to engagement on human rights with relevant national and regional stakeholders in the sub-region, including follow-up on implementation of decisions rendered by policy-making, human rights and other relevant entities;
  • help promote human rights issues, including their gender equality dimensions considerations, and help ensure that they are integrated into political, humanitarian and economic efforts and programmes;
  • assist in the development and implementation of training programs in the field of human rights, international humanitarian law, democracy and the rule of law, with attention to gender perspectives, including follow-up on different cases and situations verified by the Regional Office;
  • serve as note-taker at meetings, drafting a variety of reports, communications, briefings, statements, et cetera, including to policy-making bodies; and perform other duties requested by supervisor, as appropriate.

 

Competencies

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.

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Education

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.

Work Experience

Languages

English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this internship fluency in English is required. Knowledge of French and/or Portuguese is an asset.

Assessment

Incomplete applications/personal history profiles (PHPs) will not be reviewed. OHCHR Southern Africa Regional office 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 OHCHR Southern Africa Regional office entity;
  • -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.

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