United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Outline of the organisation

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is UN agency that works to promote and protect the human rights that are guaranteed under international law and stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948. At the urging of the US and other nations, the UN General Assembly established the office in 1993. Holding the rank of Under-Secretary-General, the High Commissioner coordinates human rights activities throughout the UN System and supervises the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Positions available

Internships are available for graduate students These internships are intended to increase the intern's understanding of current human rights issues at the international level and give them an insight into the work of the United Nations and OHCHR in particular; and provide OHCHR and the United Nations Human Rights mechanisms with the assistance and contribution of outstanding young students or graduates.

Interns are assigned to an organisational unit of OHCHR according to the needs of the Office and their own areas of interest. They are involved in researching human rights issues, drafting analytical papers and reports, providing substantive and technical servicing of meetings, backstopping fact-finding and technical cooperation activities as well as field operations and supporting other OHCHR activities, depending on the exigencies of the Office.

Internships are not remunerated and interns are not considered officials or staff members of the OHCHR. Travel costs and living expenses must be borne by the interns themselves or by a sponsoring institution. Interns are responsible for making their own travel arrangements and for obtaining visas. In Geneva, interns are provided, upon arrival, with a Swiss ID card for the duration of the internship by OHCHR's Administrative Section. They are also provided with a UN ground pass, a library card and general information about OHCHR and the United Nations.

Further information is available here.


Applicants must at the time of application meet one of the following requirements:

  • Be enrolled in a graduate school programme (second university degree or equivalent, or higher);
  • Be enrolled in the final academic year of a first university degree programme (minimum Bachelor’s level or equivalent);
  • Have graduated with a university degree (as defined above) and, if selected, must commence the internship within a one-year period of graduation.

Application process

Internships are advertised via the UN Careers Portal. When completing the application, applicants should indicate a time period in the current year when they are available to start the internship.