Internship, Geneva, Switzerland

Job Description

Job Opening

Posting Title: Internship-Field Operations and Technical Cooperation (Emergency Response), I (Temporary Job Opening)


Department/Office: Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Duty Station: GENEVA

Posting Period: 29 November 2018 – 28 May 2019

Job Opening Number: 18-Human Rights Affairs-OHCHR-107260-J-Geneva (A)

United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity

Organizational Setting and Reporting

The Office of the United Nations 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 internships with the Field Operations and Technical Cooperation Division (FOTCD). FOTCD coordinates the development and implementation of OHCHR’s country engagement strategies. In particular, these internship assignments are located within the Emergency Response Section (ERS), which coordinates rapid response activities and provides specialized technical and operational support to field presences, geographic sections and OHCHR leadership in the areas of peace missions, early warning and preparedness, fact-finding, investigation, establishment and running of field presences and humanitarian action. The Section is comprised of the Early Warning and Information Support Unit (EWISU) and the Humanitarian Action Unit (HAU). Based in Geneva, Switzerland, under the overall guidance of the Chief of Section, the intern will be under the general supervision of the the respective Head of Unit, and reports to the respective Coordinator or Human Rights Officer in the area of assignment. This assignment is normally for an initial period of three (3) months with the possibility of extension up to a total combined period of six (6) months and a commencement date ranging from December 2018 to June 2019. APPLICANTS SHOULD INDICATE THEIR PREFERRED THEMATIC AREA AND PERIOD OF AVAILABILITY IN THE COVER LETTER OF THE APPLICATION.


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 interns supporting EWISU will depend on the individual’s background and specific duties may include but are not limited to: Collecting, centralizing and analyzing information on key developments related to emerging situations for channeling to the United Nations Operations and Crisis Centre (UNOCC). In coordination with the Coordinator or the Human Rights Officer, the intern drafts UNOCC daily contribution for clearance before the deadline; summarizes submissions from human rights field presences according to priority information requirements; Conducts daily media & open source monitoring, checking various internal and external United Nations media sources, international and local media, OHCHR Press Briefing Notes, et cetera; Sends e-format version of OHCHR Contribution to UNOCC and to the relevant stake holders; Provides input and maintains information in the UNOCC-OHCHR contribution tracking matrix; Records daily inputs received from the country through field missions and the desk officers, including what was featured by UNOCC; Provides daily feedback to desk officers and field presences on their UNOCC contributions; Produces a daily Media Afternoon Monitoring (MAM) report to ERS; Highlights potential emerging issues or situations to submit to UNOCC, and tracks up-coming OHCHR/High Commissioner Press Briefing notes and New Releases to highlight to UNOCC; Liaises with relevant in-house and external partners as necessary or requested by EWISU; Drafts a weekly overview of the inputs provided to the UNOCC; and Performs other tasks as requested by the Unit Head or respective supervisor, as appropriate. Daily responsibilities of interns supporting HAU responsibilities will depend on the individual’s background and specific duties may include but are not limited to: Supporting with preparation for, assisting and attending, as relevant, inter-agency meetings, and conducting any necessary follow-up, including drafting briefing notes/talking points, drafting meeting minutes/notes to the file and briefing unit members on recommendations and action points. In particular, the intern conducts research as requested and provide inputs to OHCHR and inter-agency tools/ reports/processes; Updates and maintains the Human Rights and Humanitarian Action start-up kit and portal; Liaises with relevant in-house and external partners as necessary, and generally assists the unit in preparing for in-house and inter-agency processes; Assists the section with UNOCC reporting, on a part-time basis; and Performs other tasks as requested by the Unit Head or respective supervisor, as appropriate.


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.


To qualify for the United Nations Secretariat internship programme, applicants must, at the time of application, be enrolled in a graduate school programme (i.e. Master’s degree or equivalent degree, or higher) or in the final academic year of a first-level university degree programme (i.e. Bachelor’s degree or equivalent degree) in the area of law, political science, international relations, social sciences or a related field, OR have graduated with a university as defined above AND, if selected, must commence the internship within one-year period from the date of graduation.

Work Experience

Applicants are not required to have professional work experience for participation in the internship programme though any relevant academic and/or practical experience, in particular in the area of legal or human rights affairs, would be an advantage.

Applicants should be computer literate in standard software applications; 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.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this internship fluency in English or French is required and knowledge of the other is an asset. Knowledge of another United Nations official language – Arabic, Chinese, Russian or Spanish – would be an advantage.


Short-listed candidates will be contacted directly by the hiring manager for an informal interview after the review of their application. Incomplete Personal History Profiles (PHPs) will not be reviewed. For this reason it is crucial that the cover letter:

  • Specifies the area of interest and earliest date of availability; -Explains why you are a suitable candidate for this OHCHR internship assignment; -Indicates information technology (IT) skills and programs in which you are proficient; and -Notes the present period of academic studies underway and/or the exact title & date that more recent academic degree was awarded. IN YOUR PHP, BE SURE TO INCLUDE ALL PAST EMPLOYMENT, IF APPLICABLE, PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE – ACADEMIC OR OTHERWISE – AND THREE REFERENCES. IN ADDITION, APPLICANTS SHOULD INDICATE THEIR SPECIALIZATION AND/ OR AREAS OF INTEREST – IN ORDER OF PREFERENCE – AS THIS WILL ENHANCE THE VALUE OF THE INTERNSHIP FOR BOTH THE INTERN AND THE ORGANIZATION. DUE TO HIGH VOLUME OF APPLICATIONS RECEIVED, ONLY CANDIDATES WHO HAVE BEEN SHORT-LISTED WILL BE CONTACTED FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION.

Special Notice

In line with the United Nations Internship programme, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights internship provides a framework by which students from diverse academic backgrounds gain exposure to the work of the United Nations through assignment to Secretariat entities. The Programme endeavors to attract qualified students, offering them an opportunity to enrichen their educational experience through exposure to the work of the Organization. Equally, it provides the Office with the assistance of students specialized in various professional fields. Applicants are encouraged to apply for internships which relate directly to their studies, expertise and/or skills.

A person who is the child or sibling of a staff member shall not be eligible to apply for an internship at the United Nations Secretariat. An applicant who bears to a staff member any other family relationship may be engaged as an intern, provided that he or she shall not be assigned to the same work unit of the staff member nor placed under the direct or indirect supervision of the staff member. For purposes of this advertisement, ‘child’ means (i) the child of a staff member; (ii) the child of the spouse of a staff member (e.g. stepchild); and (iii) the spouse of a child of a staff member or a staff member’s spouse (e.g. son- or daughter-in-law). ‘Sibling’ includes the child of both or either parent of a staff member and the child. The internship is an unpaid (full-time) opportunity and the intern must adhere to the established weekly working hours of the duty station where the assignment is located, including one hour for lunch. For more information on the United Nations Secretariat Internship programme, please visit: Qualified individuals may apply directly to this and other opportunities with the United Nations Secretariat at

United Nations Considerations

According to article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the employment of the staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity. Candidates will not be considered for employment with the United Nations if they have committed violations of international human rights law, violations of international humanitarian law, sexual exploitation or sexual abuse, or crimes other than minor traffic offences, or if there are reasonable grounds to believe that they have been involved in the commission of any of these acts. The term ‘sexual exploitation’ means any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another. The term ‘sexual abuse’ means the actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions.

Due regard will be paid to the importance of recruiting the staff on as wide a geographical basis as possible. The United Nations places no restrictions on the eligibility of men and women to participate in any capacity and under conditions of equality in its principal and subsidiary organs. The United Nations Secretariat is a non-smoking environment.Applicants are urged to follow carefully all instructions available in the online recruitment platform, inspira. For more detailed guidance, applicants may refer to the Manual for the Applicant, which can be accessed by clicking on ‘Manuals’ hyper-link on the upper right side of the inspira account-holder homepage.The evaluation of applicants will be conducted on the basis of the information submitted in the application according to the evaluation criteria of the job opening and the applicable internal legislations of the United Nations including the Charter of the United Nations, resolutions of the General Assembly, the Staff Regulations and Rules, administrative issuances and guidelines. Applicants must provide complete and accurate information pertaining to their personal profile and qualifications according to the instructions provided in inspira to be considered for the current job opening. No amendment, addition, deletion, revision or modification shall be made to applications that have been submitted. Candidates under serious consideration for selection will be subject to reference checks to verify the information provided in the application.Job openings advertised on the Careers Portal will be removed at 11:59 p.m. (New York time) on the deadline date.

No Fee


OHCHR – Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights


Geneva, Switzerland