Internship – Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

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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 OHCHR Regional Office for South America (ROSA). Established in September 2009, the Regional Office for South America works with governments, parliaments, the judiciary, national human rights institutions, civil society organizations, human rights defenders, regional and international organisations and the United Nations Secretariat to develop and strengthen their capacities, so as to improve the promotion and protection of human rights, according to international human rights standards. A combination of advocacy on human rights issues of concern and technical support and capacity building with key partners has formed the basis of the Regional Office’s work, including with national government authorities, national human rights institutions, civil society and UN agencies and programmes. Covering nine (9) countries, specifically Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela, OHCHR Regional Office for South America coordinates its activities and actions with Headquarters and other field presences.

Based in Santiago, Chile, under the overall direction of the Regional Representative, the intern reports to the Human Rights Officer in the assigned work unit. This internship assignment may be offered for an initial period of three (3) months, renewable for a combined period of six (6) months, upon further approval by the supervisor, with a commencement date ranging/starting from June 2020 to June 2021. PLEASE NOTE THAT DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC AND THE RESULTING GLOBAL TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS, THE INTERNSHIP WILL ONLY START ONCE THESE RESTRICTIONS HAVE BEEN LIFTED. THEREFORE, INTERESTED CANDIDATES ARE ENCOURAGED TO INDICATE THEIR LATEST DATE OF AVAILABILITY TO START THEIR INTERNSHIP.

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.




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 Human Rights (Regional) intern will depend on the individual’s background and duties may include but are not limited to monitoring human rights, politics, socio-economic affairs and other developments in the South American region, and in particular, the intern may: Assist in drafting reports, background notes, talking points, summaries and other documents for the Regional Office and OHCHR headquarters; Assist in providing information to United Nations human rights mechanisms such as treaty bodies and special procedures; Prepare presentations and materials on human rights law and issues; Carry-out research on international and national law, case law and make summaries thereof; Attend and summarize notes for workshops and meetings; Assist in organizing and managing conferences, training events and other events; Assist in reviewing, preparing and distributing news and notes on human rights issues; Assist in preparing, drafting and reviewing public information materials; Assist in implementing the Regional Office’s public information and media activities, and translation of documents; and Performs other related duties requested by the supervisor, as appropriate.


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.


To qualify for the United Nations Secretariat internship programme applicants must, at the time of their submission, be enrolled in the final academic year of a first-level university degree programme programme (i.e. Bachelor’s degree or equivalent degree); be enrolled in a graduate school programme (i.e. Master’s degree or equivalent degree, or higher) or have completed an aforementioned academic degree, preferably in the area of business or public administration, finance, accounting, law, management, economics or a related field, AND, if selected, must commence the internship on the date indicated on the acceptance letter.

Work Experience

English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this internship, fluency in English and Spanish is required. Knowledge of Portuguese would be an advantage.

Incomplete applications/personal history profiles (PHPs) will not be reviewed. OHCHR Regional Office for South America 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 area of international human rights and/or the work of the Office;
  • Indicate recently obtained academic degree or the scheduled graduation for university study currently underway;
  • Specify your period of availability and earliest commencement date; and
  • Indicate information technology (IT) skills and programs in which you are proficient.
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