cropped cropped White with Bold Red Political Logo 1 2323 Full-time Programme Internship in Geneva

Full-time Programme Internship in Geneva

International Service for Human Rights


Full-time Programme Internship


Dates: 1 September 2023- 29 February 2024

Length: 6 months

Work percentage: Full-time (37.5 hours/week)

Based in: Geneva, Switzerland

Reports to: Relevant Programme Managers

Applications close: 12 February 2023 (Midnight Geneva time)

ISHR is an independent, non-profit organisation with offices in Geneva and New York. This internship offers a unique opportunity to view the United Nations human rights system at work in Geneva. It provides hands-on experience working for an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) as well as the opportunity to contribute to our work supporting human rights defenders, strengthening human rights systems, building and leading human rights coalitions, and responding to significant and systemic human rights concerns. For more information, consult our website

Key tasks:

The internship will take place in Geneva, Switzerland. Key tasks will include:

  • Assisting with ISHR’s training and advocacy support to human rights defenders and networks globally;
  • Providing support to the key programme staff in the implementation of project activities, across ISHR’s strategic programme areas;
  • Reviewing and providing inputs to relevant ISHR reports, handbook for research, related to specific human rights issues and UN mechanisms;
  • Researching and compiling texts, UN resolutions, laws or reports on specific human rights topics in order to supplement ISHR research and advocacy;
  • Contributing to ISHR’s outreach and communications, including regular online publications, as well as supporting thematic side-events organisation;
  • Monitoring and reporting on UN and regional human rights meetings, including the UN Human Rights Council, Treaty Body sessions and Universal Periodic Review;
  • Approximately 15-20% of the work will be administrative in nature.

Training and Opportunities:

  • Interns are fully included in staff meetings, which provide a comprehensive understanding of the work of an international human rights NGO;
  • Interns also have opportunities to interact and network with human rights defenders, diplomats or other UN and NGO professionals both at the United Nations and at ISHR’s office (or remotely) during meetings;
  • Where appropriate or necessary for their work, ISHR staff will provide practical sessions and guidance, for example on monitoring UN mechanisms, drafting reports and advocacy documents, utilising communications technologies, etc.
  • Interns will be supervised by one or two experienced programme managers, and supported in achieving their learning objectives through regular check-ins with the Intern Coordinator.

Internship modalities

The internship will be in person, in ISHR’s Geneva office and will start on 1 September 2023 until 29 February 2024. It is expected to be a 6 month full-time (37.5 hours per week) position with no possibility of extension.

ISHR will consider applicants who are unable to travel or work on-site due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions. This will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Please indicate in your application whether you will be able to work on-site or wish to be considered for a remote position.


  • Internships will be compensated CHF700/month.

Equal opportunity

ISHR is firmly committed to having a diverse team and to the principle of equal employment opportunity. ISHR’s policy is to practice fair and non-discriminatory recruitment and selection procedures and strive for diverse, international and multicultural personnel.

We welcome all kinds of diversity. Applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction including on grounds of race, colour, national origin, age, religion, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression or sex characteristics, pregnancy, genetic information, protected veteran status, socio-economic status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

We particularly welcome applications from systematically, historically and/or traditionally discriminated against under-represented groups, including women, persons of colour, LGBTIQ+ persons candidates, persons with disabilities and other groups.


To be considered,applicants should:

  • be an advanced undergraduate student or graduate student in international relations, law, international public law, human rights or a related field;
  • be motivated to pursue a career in human rights and have a particular interest in the UN and regional human rights systems;
  • have an excellent level of written and spoken English;
  • be detail-oriented and attentive to nuance, in particular in diplomatic environments;
  • be motivated, autonomous and a self-starter, and comfortable occasionally working with limited supervision;
  • be able to work as a member of an international and multicultural team and willing to participate in a variety of tasks, as required.

Additional Skills

ISHR is particularly interested in candidates who also have the following skills or experiences:

  • Advanced to fluent Spanish and/or French and/or Chinese language
  • Interest or background, including activism in, corporate accountability, women’s rights, and/or LGBTI rights;
  • Interest or background in regional human rights mechanisms, in particular the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR);
  • Legal drafting and research including on treaty body jurisprudence;
  • Interest or background in training and capacity building, including online learning;
  • Logistics, travel and event planning.

How to apply


Per Geneva labor law, ISHR can only consider applications from candidates:

  • who are currently enrolled in a course of study leading to a degree or professional qualification and whose school agrees to enter a three-way agreement* with ISHR; or
  • who are about to start an advanced degree (e.g. Master’s) pending their school agrees to enter a three-way agreement* with ISHR.
  • who pursue the internship shortly after the completion of a first degree (e.g. Bachelor’s degree), in view of a second training (e.g. Master’s degree), provided that the school awarding the degree attests the relevance and usefulness of the internship.

*Please note that a three-way agreement includes ISHR, the Intern and the Intern’s school.

Unless required to complete an internship as part of their studies, candidates with a Swiss Student B Permit can only work full-time during their holidays.

Per Geneva Labor Law, non EU/EFTA nationals in need of a work permit to do an on-site internship, need to demonstrate that the internship is taking place during or as part of their course of study and show proof of a monthly scholarship for the purpose of this internship of at least CHF 2’660. ISHR will remunerate the internship CHF500 per month and assist in obtaining the relevant work permit if the internship is done on-site. To cover the difference (CHF 2160), the applicant must obtain a grant from a university or other organisation specifically for the purpose of the internship.

This labor law requirement doesn’t apply for remote internships.

Interested candidates should submit an application by sending a cover letter, a CV (no profile picture please) and a writing sample here.

In their cover letter, candidates should demonstrate their commitment to human rights and social change.

Application deadline: 12 February 2023 (midnight, Geneva time).

Incomplete applications will not be considered. Please kindly note that due to the high volume of applications, only short-listed candidates will be contacted. All applications will be handled in accordance with ISHR’s Privacy Policy.

Job Notifications
Subscribe to receive notifications for the latest job vacancies.