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Internship - Human Rights intern in the Human Rights Liaision Unit in Geneva, Swizterland

Geneva (Switzerland)

  • Organization: UNHCR - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Location: Geneva (Switzerland)
  • Grade: Internship
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Human Rights
  • Closing Date: 2021-10-17

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Terms of Reference
Division of International Protection, Protection Policy and Legal Advice Section, Human Rights Liaison Unit

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is offering a full-time internship within the Human Rights Liaison Unit of the Division of International Protection at UNHCR Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
Established in December 1950, UNHCR is a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for asylum seekers, refugees, returnees, internally displaced communities and stateless people. Every year, millions of men, women and children are forced to flee their homes to escape conflict and persecution. UNHCR currently operates in over 130 countries, using its long expertise to protect and care for millions.

Title: Human Rights Internship
Duty Station: Geneva, Switzerland
Duration: 6 months
Contract Type: Internship
Applications closing date: 17 October 2021
Start date: 10 January 2022

Organisational context
The Human Rights Liaison Unit is part of the Protection Policy and Legal Advice (PPLA) Section in the Division of International Protection (Service 1 - Policy & Law). The Unit aims at promoting the effective use of international human rights law and UN human rights mechanisms to strengthen the protection of persons of concern to UNHCR.

The goal of the Human Rights Liaison Unit is three-fold: firstly to contribute to human rights standards setting as relevant, and advocate for the inclusion of protection issues related to refugees, asylum-seekers, IDPs, stateless persons and returnees into legal instruments, policy documents, recommendations and other outcome documents of the Human Rights Council, the Human Rights Treaty Monitoring Bodies and the UN Special Procedures. Secondly, to contribute to the mainstreaming of human rights into all areas of UNHCR¿s work and promote the effective use of human rights law, procedures and standards for advocacy and as complementary protection tools in the respective UNHCR operations. Thirdly, to function as the liaisons between UNHCR and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to strengthen human rights approaches and ensure continuous exchange of relevant information.

In support of the above-mentioned Goal, the Unit leads and supports DIP¿s efforts, as appropriate, to ensure that:
- Refugee protection is complemented and strengthened through human rights standards.
- Substantial resolutions of the Human Rights Council, reports and recommendations issued by Special Procedures, as well as General Comments and General Recommendations of Treaty Monitoring Bodies and other standard setting instruments are in line with and contribute to the progressive development of international refugee law and to the enhancement of the protection of persons of concern.
- Asylum-seekers, refugees, IDPs, returnees and stateless persons, and information about the extent to which they enjoy their rights, are systematically included in Treaty Body Concluding Observations and Recommendations, General Comments and General Recommendations by the Treaty Monitoring Bodies, UPR recommendations, reports of Special Procedures mandate holders, by OHCHR and by the High Commissioner for Human Rights in statements and interventions.
- Human rights law and standards, as well as human rights mechanisms are effectively used as protection tools by colleagues for UNHCR advocacy and interventions.
- The cooperation with the diverse human rights bodies results in the adoption of specific concluding observations, recommendations, resolutions and reports, which benefit country operations and specific protection situations.
- The rights of asylum-seekers, refugees, stateless persons, internally displaced persons and returnees, as set out in the international human rights treaties, are promoted in a non-discriminatory manner.
- In close partnership with OHCHR and in cooperation with UN agencies, human rights strategies and approaches are consolidated and joint advocacy and interventions are taken, when appropriate and relevant.

Given the importance of international human rights law to the protection of refugees and other persons of concern to UNHCR, the Human Rights Liaison Unit continuously cooperates with the Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and monitors the work of the Human Rights Treaty Monitoring Bodies, the Human Rights Council, including the Universal Periodic Review and its Special Procedures, and contributes, if and when relevant, to ensure that the rights and needs of persons of concern to the Office are systematically considered in the discussions, country visits and other activities and reflected in the respective reports, decisions, conclusions and recommendations.
Consisting of one Senior Liaison Officer (Human Rights)/Head of Unit, one Human Rights Officer and one intern at each given time, the Unit carries out and provides the following activities and services:

General information and advice:
- Provide constant guidance and advice to staff on how to effectively and strategically use the UN human rights mechanisms and standards.
- Keep colleagues informed about developments in the area of human rights of relevance to UNHCR. New international and human rights instruments are promptly analysed as to their potential value for the work of UNHCR.
Contribution to standard-setting exercises:
- With the support of, and in consultation with thematic and country-specific focal points, provide input into new legal instruments in the area of human rights during the drafting process, including Human Rights Council resolutions, Treaty Body General Comments/Recommendations, Special Procedures reports and OHCHR guides and studies.
- Provide legal and doctrinal advice on human rights standards.
- Prepare papers, statements and speeches, as well as other contributions into global and regional human rights processes which promote UNHCR¿s position.
Cooperation with Treaty Monitoring Bodies:
- Assist colleagues in the preparation and finalization of Confidential Comments for submission to the human rights treaty monitoring bodies.
- Monitor and provides feedback to colleagues from treaty body sessions, highlighting concluding observations and recommendations of particular relevance to UNHCR¿s mandate and advising on how these can be used as protection advocacy tools.
- Review findings and recommendations of Treaty Monitoring Bodies, the Human Rights Council and Special Procedures as to their standard setting, promotional or COI value and systematically disseminates for use in UNHCR¿s protection and promotion efforts.

Contribution to the Universal Periodic Reviews:
- Assist colleagues in the preparation and finalization of contributions to the Human Rights Council¿s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism, in the form of written contributions the OHCHR Compilation Reports or in the context of reports prepared by UN country teams.
- Monitor UPR sessions and provide feedback to colleagues on adopted recommendations of particular relevance to UNHCR¿s mandate, including advice on how these can be used in the context of protection strategies and as advocacy tools.

Cooperation with the Human Rights Council:
- Monitor regular and special sessions of the Human Rights Council, and inform colleagues about discussions, reports, decisions and resolutions of particular interest to UNHCR, which can complement or reinforce UNHCR¿s positions and protection strategies. 
Cooperation with the UN Special Procedures:
- Provide input into thematic, country-specific and mission reports and studies by relevant Special Procedures mandate holders, in collaboration with field-based colleagues and thematic and country-specific UNHCR focal points.
- Inform colleagues about relevant recommendations by Special Procedures and how these can be used as protection advocacy tools.

Key internal relationships:
All of DIP; Bureaux Regional Legal Advisers/Policy Officers; Department of Operations; Media Relations and Public Information Service; Liaison offices in Vienna and New York, Regional Protection Hubs and colleagues in UNHCR Country Offices.

Key external relationships:
International Agencies: Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), UN Treaty Monitoring Bodies, UN Special Procedures mandate holders, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and other UN entities as relevant.
Other: Permanent Missions in Geneva, several universities and academies, and NGOs as relevant.

The position
The focus of the internship is the ongoing legal protection work of UNHCR. Through the internship, interns will: (i) gain a deeper knowledge of the work of UNHCR; the international legal framework governing the organization¿s interventions, namely international refugee law, human rights law and the international standards relating to the prevention and reduction of statelessness; and the way UNHCR uses the UN human rights machinery at large to further the protection of persons of concern and (ii) practice and develop `professional working skills¿, such as time management, prioritization, management of tasks, team work, presentation skills etc. The work of an intern is not confined to a single research project (of an academic nature) as may be the case with other internships, but it rather involves direct engagement with operational aspects of the work of the Unit although it might also encompass some elements of routine (e.g. compilation and preparation of seminar folders) at times.

Duties and responsibilities
¿ Conduct analysis and prepare feedback on the outcomes of the UN treaty bodies;
¿ Participate as an observer in the sessions of the Human Rights Council, as well as in informal meetings organized in parallel to the Council sessions, or any special Council meetings throughout the year and prepare related reports as relevant;
¿ Contribute to the compilation of information and preparation of UNHCR submissions on countries to be examined under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism;
¿ Contribute to the preparation of UPR-related documentation to be used for outreach and advocacy purposes ahead of the UPR sessions; 
¿ Participate as an observer in the sessions of the Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Reviews as relevant and prepare related feedback reports;
¿ Contribute to the development of the analysis of the third UPR cycle (as to date);
¿ Contribute to the compilation of information and preparation of UNHCR submissions to the different treaty bodies;
¿ Undertake legal research on human rights issues relating to refugees and other persons of concern to UNHCR;
¿ Develop and update internal tools and guidance on the UN human rights mechanisms, as needed;
¿ Search for and analyse documents produced by the UN human rights machinery when needed and as relevant;
¿ Edit position papers and other legal documents as applicable;
¿ Assist in the organisation, preparation, recording and follow-up of workshops, conferences and meetings;
¿ Coordinate development of communications materials such as the leaflets, posters;
¿ Help produce promotional content for events and campaigns, postcards, roll up, short videos;
¿ Facilitate the translation of certain materials;
¿ Assist with drafting, compiling and editing of the HRLU Newsletter;
¿ Assist with the drafting of presentations for external and internal meetings;

In addition, where occasions arise, interns may participate in bi- and multilateral meetings of UNHCR with government and other agency partners, as well as in training seminars or briefings offered by UNHCR colleagues.
Interns may occasionally be asked to offer support to other colleagues in the Protection Policy and Legal Advice (PPLA) Section within the Division of International Protection.

Minimum qualifications required
In order to be considered for an internship, candidates must meet the following eligibility criteria:
¿ Be either a recent graduate (having completed their studies within one year of applying) or a current student in a graduate/undergraduate school programme from a university or higher education facility accredited by UNESCO ; and
¿ Have completed at least two years of undergraduate studies in a field relevant or of interest to the work of UNHCR.

NOTE: An individual whose father, mother, son, daughter, brother or sister is a staff member of UNHCR, including a Temporary Appointment holder or a member of the Affiliate Workforce, is not eligible for an internship.

Desirable qualifications and skills:
Interns working with the Human Rights Liaison Unit must in principle have a legal background, with knowledge of international law, including human rights law. Knowledge and/or experience in the field of refugee law will be highly valued. Fluency in English (excellent oral and written skills) is a prerequisite, and knowledge of another UN language would be an asset. While not being a formal requirement, any relevant work experience will be taken into account in the selection process.

It is a full-time role with working hours starting from 09.00am to 06:00pm Monday to Friday (40 hours per week). The successful candidate will be assigned to support the team in Geneva, Switzerland; however, bearing in mind COVID-19 imposed restrictions, remote working arrangements are possible, and working from home will in any case sometimes be required.

Allowance: Interns who do not receive financial support from an outside party will receive an allowance to partially help to cover the cost of food, local transportation and living expenses.

The UNHCR workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages and opinions. UNHCR seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce. Applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction on grounds of race, colour, sex, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.

UNHCR does not charge a fee at any stage of its recruitment process (application, interview, meeting, travelling, processing or training.

We welcome applications from candidates with a refugee or stateless background. Please note that the closing date for this internship advertisement is Sunday 17 October 2021 (midnight Geneva time).
We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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