Quick Links

Human Rights Internships

A. Objectives

McGill University’s Faculty of Law enjoys a rich tradition of human rights education and involvement. In 1992, the Faculty established a number of partnerships with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Canada and the developing world. In 2000, the internship Program became a fully credited course with formal requirements, thus allowing students to earn six (6) credits toward the completion of the McGill Program. The International Human Rights Internships Program is administered by the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism.

The International Human Rights Internship Program carefully selects law students for placements as interns with NGOs and tribunals for a period of 12 weeks. Partner organizations provide students with practical work experience in human rights investigation, monitoring, and reporting. The internships also provide exposure to the operation and implementation of international legal human rights instruments and norms. The Internship Program is coordinated by the Faculty’s Human Rights Committee under the supervision of Doctor Nandini Ramanujam.

The Internship Program provides students with an opportunity to apply their legal education in a concrete setting and further develop a demonstrated interest and commitment to the defence of human rights. Students participate in the Program as volunteers, with partial funding from the Faculty of Law. Following their summer placements, interns return to the Faculty with practical legal training and personal experience that enrich the intellectual and social life of the law school community. In the past, internships have lead to the creation of team research projects and working groups at the Faculty. Interns are also called upon to follow up their placement by publicizing their experience and encouraging others to get involved.

Read the McGill Human Rights Interns blog at blogs.mcgill.ca/humanrightsinterns/

Internships will likely be offered in partnership with the following organizations (links jump down to each entry) in 2013-2014:

  1. Cambodian League for the Promotion & Defence of Human Rights (LICADHO) – Phnom Penh, Cambodia
  2. The Canadian Human Rights Foundation (Equitas) – Montreal, Canada
  3. The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network – Toronto, Canada
  4. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights – San José, Costa Rica
  5. Human Rights Watch – New York City, USA
  6. Ateneo Centre for Human Rights – Manila, the Philippines
  7. Maliiganik Tukisiiniakvik Legal Services – Iqaluit, Nunavut
  8. Coalition des ONG et OCB du Cameroun œuvrant dans le domaine des Établissements Humains (CONGEH) – Yaoundé, Cameroun
  9. The Equality Effect – Malawi
  10. Disability Rights International – Mexico City, Mexico
  11. Legal Action for Persons with Disabilities – Center for Health, Human Rights and Development – Uganda (joint placement)
  12. Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA)– The Gambia
  13. Oceans Beyond Piracy - One Earth Future Foundation – Colorado, USA
  14. Responsibility to Protect Program – One Earth Future Foundation, Colorado, USA
  15. Research & Development Internship – One Earth Future Foundation, Colorado, USA
  16. Oppenheimer Chair Internship – Calcutta Research Group (CRG) – Calcutta, India
  17. Avocats sans frontières Canada – Quebec City
  18. Pearson Chair Internship (Akwesasne Mohawk Council) – Ontario/Quebec/NY border

B. Course Requirements

The International Human Rights Internship Program is a six-credit course offered by the Faculty of Law of McGill University.

I. Credit Allocation

Interns must apportion the internship’s three (3) credits during the summer semester and three (3) credits in the fall semester. The three (3) summer credits are for the 12-week field placement and a short Internship report. The three (3) fall credits are for the seminar course leading to a research paper.

N.B. The total number of non-course credits taken throughout the BCL/LLB program may not exceed 15. Human Rights Internships only counts for three non-course credits.

II. Course Requirements

The course requirements consist of three components, defined below. The 12-week placement and the internship report are pass/fail and count for three credits. The Seminar Course with Research Paper is a 3-credit graded course with 75% of the evaluation based on your research paper and 25% on participation.

a. 12-Week Placement

Interns are expected to complete a minimum of 12 weeks with their partner organization. The Faculty of Law and the partner organizations have agreed that interns will be expected to work at least four days a week on NGO- and tribunal- related activities. Depending on the tasks the intern is assigned, partner organizations may give the intern one day a week to carry out her or his own research for the purposes of completing the third course requirement, the supervised research paper.

b. Internship Report

Upon completion of the 12-week placement, the intern is expected to submit a report (10-15 pages) on the internship experience. In general, the report should provide the Director of the Program as well as future interns with a snapshot of the partner organization’s work, a description of the nature of the work undertaken by the intern, and the intern’s views regarding how the placement could be improved or refined. The Report will not be sent to the host organisation.

The report is due on the last working day of September at the SAO. Taking into consideration the comments of the Supervisor, the Director of the Program will submit a pass-fail grade.

c. Three-credit Seminar Course with Research Paper (75% research paper, 25% participation)

Interns are also required to take a seminar course, which leads to a final research paper. The course will focus on taking the interns through the process of writing this paper, and grades will be broken down over the various components of this process. The paper is written throughout the course of the seminar.

The goal of this seminar is to create a space for students, returning from human rights internship field placement, to critically reflect on their work and connect it to the broad concepts and critical theories related to human rights. The seminar will be built upon the brief pre-departure session that briefly explored challenges of connecting critical approaches to human rights with the practical work on the ground. The seminar, which will heavily draw upon the student experiences, and case studies presented by them, will explore theoretical, ethical, and strategic issues related to human rights work. The first half of the course will consist of a review of carefully selected literature on discourses in human rights advocacy and activism, and on research methodology specific to human rights work such as fact finding, monitoring and reporting, grass roots mobilization, and media engagement. The second half of the course is envisaged as a writing workshop that will be structured on a peer review model and will ultimately lead up to the writing of the term paper.

Method of Evaluation: The final grade will be based upon a final paper on a theme linked to the Internship (75%), and class participation (25%).

C. Application Process

I. Application calendar for summer 2015

  1. Wednesday, 1 October 2014, 12:30-13:30 in NCDH 202 – Internship Information Session
  2. Friday, 31 October 2013 – Applications DUE to HRinternships [dot] law [at] mcgill [dot] ca (by 3PM)
  3. Monday, 17 November 2014 – Interviews start.

Please submit all required documents together as a single PDF document, if possible. Applications should be addressed to Nandini Ramanujam, Executive and Program Director.

Questions about the application process? Write to hrinternships [dot] law [at] mcgill [dot] ca.

II. Contents of Application

Applications consist of:

  1. Cover letter
  2. Short answer essay questions
  3. Detailed curriculum vitae

In preparing their applications, students should refer to the description of the organizations and the draft job descriptions (see Section G of this document). Students may address their applications toward a particular internship placement based on geographic location, subject interest, or type of work, but they are not required to do so.

Cover Letter

The cover letter should include a discussion of skills and experience that qualify the applicant for the human rights internship program. Applicants are invited to provide information about relevant language skills and course work. Please do NOT include grades, grade point averages, or ranking on either the cover letter or the curriculum vitae.

If you are interested in specific internships, please highlight skills and experiences that qualify you for the position. Please refer to the job descriptions for details about the positions.

Short Answer Essay Questions

Applicants are asked to submit three brief essays in response to the following questions. Please do not exceed the word limit. If you are interested at a specific internship(s), you may focus your responses on those placements. These short responses will form part of the assessment of writing ability. Please include your responses following your cover letter and CV. 

  1. How has your interest in human rights led you to apply for a summer internship?
    (150 words)?
  2. What do you hope to take away from the experience as an intern at a human rights organization (150 words)?
  3. What challenge(s) (cultural, professional, etc.) do you expect to encounter during your internship and how will you overcome it (them) (250 words)?

III. Evaluation of Applications

The Selection Committee will consider applications on the basis of the following criteria:

  1. Commitment to human rights, substantiated by evidence.
  2. Demonstration of initiative, dynamism, and ability to work independently.
  3. Prior experience of working with an NGO, human rights groups, community-based organization, or human rights tribunal.
  4. Excellent writing skills
  5. Other relevant extra curricular activities

The following internships require certain competencies:





French language skills

Excellent organizational skills and ability to work in a team

The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network


Knowledge of Criminal Law, Constitutional Law; Independent research skills

Inter-American Court of Human Rights

Spanish language skills


Human Rights Watch

Knowledge of international criminal and humanitarian law


Ateneo Centre for Human Rights



Maliiganik Tukisiiniakvik Legal Services


Knowledge of Criminal Law

Coalition des ONG et OCB du Cameroun œuvrant dans le domaine des Établissements Humains

French language skills


Disability Rights International

Spanish Language skills

Demonstrated commitment to disability rights; knowledge of human rights law.

Legal Action for Persons with Disabilities


Demonstrated commitment to disability rights; knowledge of human rights law.

Oceans Beyond Piracy - One Earth Foundation

Upper-year student, background in international relations, political science, fisheries management or policy, or similar study

Demonstrated interest in maritime law and criminal law

Responsibility to Protect Program - One Earth Foundation

Excellent writing and research skills, demonstrated interest in international humanitarian law; international law; or prevention of atrocity crimes; ideally, experience in extractive industries

Familiarity with international humanitarian law, international criminal law, and international organizations


Research & Development - One Earth Foundation

Strong research and writing skills required 

Knowledge of international laws relevant to human rights, peace, business’ role in conflict, or the conduct of war

Oppenheimer Chair Internship in Refugee and Migration Law

Knowledge of refugee and immigration law, public international law, human rights law, etc.


Pearson Chair Internship in Civil Society and Public Policy

Knowledge of Aboriginal Law; Field work and experience working with First Nations; valid passport for travel to the US and valid driver’s license


In general, the successful candidate will possess not only academic strengths, but will also demonstrate an ability to work effectively without structured direction or supervision.

Interns may be asked to change the focus of their work during the course of a placement, to take on new responsibilities, and to deal with crises. Placements will also demand a certain level of emotional and mental strength. The Selection Committee is thus also seeking interns who demonstrate characteristics such as discretion, diplomacy, common sense, and compassion.

IV. Interviews

By Thursday, 15 November 2013, candidates will be notified as to whether they have been short-listed for interviews.

Interviews will begin 23 November 2013. Those candidates who have been short-listed will be invited to an interview with a three-member panel. Interviews will generally last 10-15 minutes.

Successful candidates will be contacted by phone or email .

D. Funding

Students participate in the Program as volunteers, and receive no salary for their work. Students should keep in mind that they will have to pay the registration fees for a 6-credit course (approximately $4665 for international students, $1171 for out-of-province students, $433 for Quebec residents). Students from the US should note that summer Stafford loans are not available to US students completing a second undergraduate degree.

Students are encouraged to raise funds to support their internships.

I. Expenses for North American and International Placements

In addition to the course registration fees, all interns should budget for expenses such as living expenses for the 12-week internship (housing, food, local transportation, communications, internet access, etc.)

In addition, overseas interns should factor in the costs of:

  • Vaccinations
  • Visas
  • Airport taxes
  • Travel insurance

The host organization is expected to assist interns in the identification of suitable and affordable housing for the duration of the placement. Students should be prepared, however, to handle this independently (and with the assistance of former interns).

II. Student Contribution

Students who are selected for the international placements are expected to raise additional funds to cover the extra costs involved in their stay abroad. In previous years, this has translated into the need to raise roughly $2,000-$2,500. However, financial needs may vary by placement.

III. Faculty Contribution

The Faculty will reimburse the cost of a return flight between Montreal and the site of a student's internship. To minimize costs, all travel arrangements are made through a McGill-affiliated travel associate.

Students will receive a modest stipend from the Faculty of Law. The stipend awards will be determined to reflect the costs of living in each of the destination locations.

IV. Student Fundraising

Students who undertake to raise additional funds for their internships may obtain a letter from the Director of the Program confirming the student’s participation in the Internship Program, and encouraging support for the student’s non-remunerated work.

Tax receipts are issued for contributions that are made payable to McGill University Faculty of Law. However, these donations may not be earmarked for any particular intern; they are placed in the general fund for stipends for interns.

Contributions may be mailed to: Ms Debbie Carlone, Faculty of Law, McGill University, 3644 Peel Street, Montreal (Quebec) H3A 1W9 .

E. Independently Organized Internships

Given that there are only a limited number of internships available under course WRIT 020, some students take the initiative of organizing their own placements independently of the Faculty’s Program. These students may apply to the Faculty for partial funding to facilitate their internships. In recent years, students from the Faculty of Law have received partial funding to work with such organizations as the Palestinian Red Cross Human Rights Office, the Palestine Peace Project, the Human Rights Information Centre of the Council of Europe, Interrights, and Article 19. Students have also worked in Bolivia, Guatemala, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Mauritius, St. Lucia, the United Nations in New York, and with the Supreme Court of Jamaica.

These students may wish to earn credits for their work, and must do so through the same seminar class leading to a research paper as outlined above for all other human rights interns.

While it may not be possible for the Faculty to provide stipends or financial support for independently-organized internships, the Faculty will provide letters of support for individual fundraising efforts.

F. Partner Organizations

  • Listed below are the various partner organizations around the world where interns can be placed.

The Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defence of Human Rights (LICADHO), Phnom Penh, Cambodia

LICADHO is a non-political, non-governmental human rights organization with its head office in Phnom Penh, and sixteen additional offices in fourteen provinces. LICADHO is comprised six advocacy departments: Children’s Rights, Women’s Rights, Monitoring, Medical, Human Rights Education, and the Project Against Torture. The intern may choose to work in any or several of the departments throughout the summer.

Type of work done by previous interns includes:

  • Research and analysis of legal documents;
  • Elections monitoring work;
  • Drafting agreements for LICADHO and other organizations;
  • Drafting reports and correspondence;
  • Drafting and editing material for the LICADHO website;
  • Conducting press reviews;
  • Designing educational material.


  • Abigail Dubiniecki  (2003)
  • Sidney Thompson  (2004)
  • Andrea Hwang  (2005)
  • Jacob Wilson  (2006)
  • Malcolm Dort  (2007)
  • Sophie Tremblay   (2008)
  • Kezia Speirs  (2009)
  • Patrick Reynaud  (2010)
  • Siena Anstis (2011)
  • Éloïse Ouellet-Décoste (2012)
  • Léa Pelletier-Marcotte (2013)

Equitas – The Canadian Human Rights Foundation, Montreal

Equitas is dedicated to the defence and promotion of human rights through education. Its education programs support the development of pluralistic and democratic civil societies. The main activities include the annual three-week International Human Rights Training Program (IHRTP), bringing together over 100 participants from about 50 countries. The IHRTP strengthens the capacity of human rights organizations to undertake human rights education efforts through training, awareness campaigns, information dissemination, and advocacy. The intern will prepare human rights materials for and participate in the annual Program.

Type of work done by previous interns includes:

  • Managing and updating the Documentation Centre of the International Human Rights Training Program (IHRTP);
  • Logistics and set-up for the training;
  • Assisting the participant of the IHRTP in their documentation research;
  • Data entry;
  • Some legal research for the education specialist;
  • Transcripts of the plenary sessions;
  • French to English translation;
  • Helping to organize the education and training programs;
  • Working with the education team to prepare daily plans for the program.


  • Kerri Joffee (2004)
  • Amina Chaoui (2005)
  • Frédéric Wilson (2006)
  • Gaël Pétillon (2007)
  • Max Reed (2008)
  • Rachel Gotthilf (2009)
  • Alexandra Pace  (2010)
  • Karine Azoulay (2011)
  • Jeanne Mageau-Taylor (2012)
  • Linda El Halabi (2013)

Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, Toronto, Canada

The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network is engaged in education, legal and ethical analysis, and policy development. The Legal Network promote responses to HIV/AIDS that: implement the International Guidelines on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights; respect the rights of people with HIV/AIDS and of those affected by the disease; facilitate HIV prevention efforts; facilitate care, treatment, and support of people with HIV/AIDS; minimize the adverse impact of HIV/AIDS on individuals and communities; and, address the social and economic factors that increase vulnerability to HIV/AIDS and to human rights abuses.

Type of work done by previous interns includes:

  • Extensive project-based legal research;
  • Drafting and editing;
  • Several administrative tasks.


  • Eva Gazurek (2003)
  • Debbie Mankovitz (2004)
  • Katie Gibson (2005)
  • Sarah Kushner (2006)
  • Anne Merminod (2007)
  • Eric Boschetti (2008)
  • Katrina Peddle (2009)
  • Leila Beheshti (2010)
  • Rémi Weiss (2011)
  • Jihyun Rosel Kim (2012)
  • Alyssa C. Clutterbuck (2013)

The Inter-American Court for Human Rights (IACHR), San José, Costa Rica

Interns work directly with the Legal Department of the Court, in preparing case files or research memoranda. While the Court works in Spanish and English, Spanish is used most frequently, both in the briefs and documents submitted to the Tribunal and the internal work of the Court. Successful candidates for the IACHR placement must therefore have a very strong ability to read, write, and converse in Spanish. A McGill partnership with the Court was established in 2002.

Type of work done by previous interns includes:

  • Researching human rights issues;
  • Writing reports;
  • Analyzing international human rights jurisprudence;
  • Assisting with the process of contentious cases, advisory opinions, provisional measures and supervision of the compliance of the Court’s judgments;
  • Providing logistical assistance during public hearings;
  • Developing legal arguments for specific cases.

Interns may also be required to conduct more intensive research about specific issues of law and participate in the daily activities of the Court, such as the review and translation of documents, and other administrative tasks.


  • Jonas-Sébastien Beaudry (2003)
  • Cristina Birks (2004)
  • Ioana Luca (2005)
  • Scott Doucet (2006)
  • Stéphanie Bachand (2007)
  • Hana Boye (2008)
  • Cedric Soule (2009)
  • Perri Ravon (2010)
  • Jean-Paul Saucier Calderón (2011)
  • Anne-Claire Gayet (2012)
  • Claire Gunner (2013)

Human Rights Watch, International Justice Program, New York City, USA

Human Rights Watch is the largest human rights organization based in the US, employing lawyers, journalists, and academics in seven internationally-located offices. HRW researchers conduct fact-finding investigations into human rights abuses in all regions of the world. The intern is placed in International Justice Program, and works on advocacy related to the international criminal tribunals. A McGill partnership with Human Rights Watch was established in 2002.

Type of work done by previous interns includes:

  • Conducting legal research in relation to international criminal justice issues in a range of countries;
  • Advocating and lobbying for HRW’s views with state representatives, at the UN, through news media outlets and with other NGOs;
  • Drafting reports, memos and correspondence;
  • Media monitoring.


  • Janina Fogels (2003)
  • Collin Smith (2004)
  • Geneviève Painter (2005)
  • Hugh Sandler (2006)
  • Balkees Jarrah (2007)
  • Jake Hirsch-Allen (2008)
  • Stavroula Papadopoulos (2009)
  • Naomi Greckol-Herlich (2010)
  • Emilie Conway (2011)
  • Will Colish (2012)
  • Marika Tremblay (2013)

Ateneo Human Rights Center, Manila, the Philippines

The Ateneo Manila Law School houses the Ateneo Human Rights Center (AHRC), which was established in October 1986 as among the first university-based institutions for the protection and promotion of human rights in the Philippines. The AHRC seeks to realize its mandate through programs focused on the continuing formulation of human rights lawyers and advocates, the monitoring of the human rights situation in the Philippines and abroad, research, education, publications, and legal assistance to victims of human rights violations.

Type of work done by previous interns includes:

  • Analysing international involvements of the member States of the ASEAN et on the domestic legislation with regards to migrant workers’ rights and producing a report with recommendations;
  • Drafting et revising educational and promotional documents relating to future protection mechanisms of human rights en South-East Asia;
  • Participating in producing a training handbook on women’s rights;
  • Providing assistance in the teaching of certain courses (i.e. children rights in the Philippines;
  • Organizing social and cultural activities


  • Seth Earn (2007)
  • Guillaume Bigaouette (2008)
  • Mae Jane Nam (2009)
  • Christopher Maughan (2010)
  • Luke Brown (2011)
  • Melissa Austen  (2012)
  • Lia Bellefontaine (2013)

Maliiganik Tukisiiniakvik Legal Services

Maliiganik Tukisiiniakvik Legal Services is the legal aid office that serves the Baffin region of Nunavut. The lawyers work in criminal, family, poverty and civil law. The largest section is the criminal law section. The courtworkers working in Iqaluit and in communities throughout the territory do substantive legal work by representing clients in Justice of the Peace Court.

Type of work done by previous intern includes:

  • Conducting bail hearings at the Justice of the Peace Court;
  • Meeting with clients daily and representing them in the Justice of the Peace Court (JP Court);
  • Leading research projects for lawyers in the office;
  • Background research for several Charter applications and ultimately drafting the Charter applications;
  • Contacting clients by phone or by going to speak with them at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Department (RCMP) Detachment, and preparing a plan of release with the client;
  • Leading research projects for lawyers in the office;
  • Attending a hearing of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Iqaluit.


  • Chiara Fish  (2010)
  • Joannie Jacob (2011)
  • Chris Durrant (2012)
  • David Nugent (2013)

Coalition des ONG et OCB du Cameroun œuvrant dans le domaine des Établissements Humains – Yaoundé, Cameroun

The Coalition of Non-Governmental Organizations and Community-Based Organizations of Cameroon working in the domain of Human Settlement (CONGEH) is a network consisting of about 50 NGO and CBO involved in the sector of Human Settlement. The mission of the CONGEH is to design and implement a plan of action for autonomous and inclusive sustainable development. To this effect, the CONGEH promotes cooperation between all member organizations working to improve the condition of Human Settlement, harmonization between members, mobilization of resources to aid the development of local NGO and CBO, and sensitization of the national and international community to problems threatening the wellbeing of human populations. Most of its member organizations’ work relates to gender and AIDS issues in relation to the urban environment, and incidentally to urban law.

Type de tâches exécutées par le précédent stagiaire:

  • Rassembler et simplifier toutes les règles concernant l’urbanisme au Cameroun dans le but de produire un guide juridique destiné à la communauté;
  • Effectuer des recherches et produire un document sur comment les évictions forcées (selon la doctrine légale camerounaise, les déguerpissements) et le droit coutumier affectaient l’accès à la propriété foncière des femmes en milieu urbain;
  • Aider à produire un rapport parallèle sur le droit au logement au Cameroun pour le Comité du PIDESC;
  • Visiter des bidonvilles et interviewer des résidents pour connaître leur point de vue par rapport à la problématique des évictions forcées;
  • Collecter des données sur la problématique du droit au logement au cours des 2-3 dernières années, afin d’écrire un rapport parallèle sur la problématique des évictions forcées au Cameroun pour le Comité du Pacte international des droits sociaux, économique et culturels. 


  • Ludovic Langlois (2010)
  • Frédérique Lissoir (2011)
  • Edward Béchard-Torres (2012)
  • Alexandra Bornac (2013)

The Equality Effect – Malawi

The Equality Effect develops creative legal solutions to address the inequality of women and girls in Africa who are subject to some of the most appalling human rights abuses in the world today (the equality effect currently works in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi). By using the law in imaginative and original ways, the equality effect achieves concrete change that can result in increased freedom from violence, improved health, and increased prosperity for women and girls. The equality effect, formerly known as the African and Canadian Women's Human Rights Project (ACWHRP), is an international network of human rights advocates (including grass roots community members, artists, musicians, film makers, health care workers, journalists, lawyers, teachers, students, judges and Parliamentarians) working together to improve the lives of women and girls by using existing human rights law to achieve concrete change, and the meaningful empowerment of women and girls.  We are human rights advocates, primarily but not exclusively from Canada, Ghana, Kenya and Malawi, that work collaboratively to learn from common experiences, to transform the sexist legal legacy inherited through the experience of colonialism, to achieve justice for women and girls.


  • Sasha Hart (2011)
  • Shantha Priya Morley (2012)
  • Silvia Neagu (2013)

Disability Rights International – Mexico City, Mexico

Disability Rights International (DRI) is dedicated to promoting the human rights and full participation in society of people with disabilities worldwide. DRI documents human rights abuses, publishes reports on human rights enforcement, and promotes international oversight of the rights of people with mental disabilities.

Drawing on the skills and experience of attorneys, mental health professionals, human rights advocates, people with mental disabilities and their family members, DRI trains and supports advocates seeking legal and service system reform and assists governments in developing laws and policies to promote community integration and human rights enforcement for people with mental disabilities.

The organization is forging new alliances throughout the world to challenge the discrimination and abuse faced by people with mental disabilities, as well as working with locally based advocates to create new advocacy projects and to promote citizen participation and human rights for children and adults.


  • Roger Bill (2012)
  • Emily Hazlett (2013)

Legal Action for Persons with Disabilities – Centre for Health, Human Rights and Disabilities, Uganda (joint placement)

Legal Action for Persons with Disabilities – Uganda

Legal Action for Persons with Disabilities (LAPD) was formed by lawyers with disabilities in 2005 as a national organization which provides free and sustainable legal aid to indigent PWDs, monitors compliance of disability related provisions in legislation, advocates for the protection of rights of PWDs, lobbies for policy reform and implementation, and raises public awareness.

The Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) is an indigenous, non-profit, research and advocacy organization which is pioneering the enforcement of human rights and the justiciability of the right to health in Eastern Africa. CEHURD was founded in 2007 and was registered under the laws of Uganda as a company limited by guarantee Certificate No. 114712. It was formed to contribute towards ensuring that laws and policies are used as principal tools for the promotion and protection of health and human rights of populations in Uganda and in the East African region. CEHURD realizes this through a set of programs: (1) Human Rights Advocacy ; (2) Community Empowerment; and (3) Research and Documentation.

CEHURD focuses its efforts on critical issues of human rights and health systems in East Africa such as sexual and reproductive health rights, trade and health, and medical ethics which affect the vulnerable and less-advantaged populations such as women, children, orphans, sexual minorities, people living with HIV/AIDS, persons with disabilities, internally-displaced persons, refugee populations and victims of violence, torture, disasters and conflict.


  • Miatta Gorvie (2012)
  • Lipi Mishra (2013)

The Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA)– Banjul, The Gambia 

IHRDA was founded in 1997 as a pan-African non-governmental organization based in Banjul, the Gambia. IHRDA works to create awareness about the African regional human rights mechanisms and to increase their accessibility, usage and effectiveness.  It has observer status with African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACmHPR) and the African Committee on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC), both organs of the African Union.

IHRDA’ s principal focus is on ensuring that the enforcement mechanisms of African human rights treaties are an effective instrument for redress of human rights violations on the continent.  IHRDA achieves its goals through four main programs areas: legal advocacy, litigation, capacity building, research and publication and more broadly cooperating with the African regional human rights system. 

Since its founding, IHRDA has worked to increase the number and quality of human rights cases brought to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights [ACPHR], It has done this primarily through litigation training as well as launching or otherwise providing support to cases before the ACHPR. We now brought new litigation cases before the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child [ACERWC] and before the African Court of Human and People’s Rights [African Court] and also before Regional Court of Justice such the Economic Community of Western African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice, the East African Court of Justice and the Southern African development Community (SADC)  Court of Justice.

For the last three years, IHRDA successfully defended several cases on citizenship and children's rights in Kenya (Nubian Children); on refugees' rights in Guinea; on migrants workers in Angola; on citizen rights, civil rights and discrimination in Mauritania, Congo DRC. 

The Institute was the first organization to publish the commission’s jurisprudence and  its compilation of decisions., IHRDA has also implemented a case law database which is currently accessible for free in English, French and Portuguese at http://caselaw.ihrda.org/


  • Jean-Marc Lacourcière (2013)

Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP) - One Earth Future Foundation – Colorado, USA

Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP) is a project of the One Earth Future Foundation, a privately funded and independent non-profit organization located in Colorado, USA. 

We focus on supporting sustainable, long-term solutions to maritime piracy.  Interns will work on a variety of tasks relevant to the legal and operational structures in place to address maritime piracy.  OBP has a particular geographic focus on activities in Somalia, India, and West Africa, and experience in, or knowledge of, these reasons is helpful.  We do not require interns to be at a specific point in their studies in order to be eligible. Relevant coursework in law would include maritime law, criminal law, and international law.

OBP was launched in 2010 with the intent to develop a response to maritime piracy through:

  • Mobilizing stakeholders from the maritime community
  • Developing public-private partnerships to promote long-term solutions at sea and ashore
  • Sustainable deterrence based on the rule of law

The work of OBP is founded upon the following principles:

  • Transparency: A sustainable solution to piracy will only be attained through transparent information-sharing and the development of a strong evidence base.
  • Inclusiveness: Because we believe that the solutions to maritime piracy lie with the stakeholders themselves, OBP actively engages and works alongside key experts and actors from every sector of the maritime community.
  • Shared Commitment: Solving piracy is a difficult and arduous process, requiring action by invested stakeholders. OBP remains committed to sharing the burden of seeking long-term, viable solutions to piracy.
  • Independence: We believe that OBP serves an important role as an unbiased independent contributor to global counter-piracy efforts. We are privately financed and our financial statements are made public.

OBP believes that the answers to the piracy problem should come from within the community of stakeholders. We work with an extensive - and growing - number of experts to find a solution to piracy. Through meetings and workshops we host, our research and analysis, and our development and encouragement of new cross-sector partnerships, we support the international community in its efforts to bring an end to contemporary maritime piracy.


  • Andrew Higdon (2013)

Responsibility to Protect Program – One Earth Future Foundation, Colorado, USA

The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) declares that states have a responsibility to protect their citizens from mass atrocity crimes. When states are unable or unwilling to protect their populations, the responsibility to protect shifts to the international community. The international community may aid states in protection, or can intervene to enforce the principle. It is important to note that R2P does not exclusively refer to humanitarian or military intervention. R2P actions may also be diplomatic, economic, or legal.

One Earth Future’s R2P Program focuses specifically on the role of the business sector in implementing R2P. OEF believes that it is fundamentally in the interest of the business sector to support the development and implementation of R2P. At the most basic level, mass atrocities destabilize economies and businesses by damaging physical infrastructure and human capital, and reducing purchasing power and consumer markets. Ample evidence also points to the significant negative reputational impact for companies associated with mass atrocities.

OEF is an international NGO based near Boulder, Colorado. We conduct research and advocacy around governance-based solutions to armed conflict. OEF is developing a program to encourage non-state actors and business engagement in supporting the “Responsibility to Protect.”

Interns in this program will work on a variety of research and programmatic tasks surrounding the legal implications of state and non-state actors’ engagement in mass atrocities and humanitarian intervention. We do not require interns to be at a specific point in their studies in order to be eligible. Familiarity with the Responsibility to Protect, as laid out in various UN and academic writings, is helpful. Relevant coursework in law would include courses focusing on humanitarian intervention, international humanitarian law, international criminal law, and international organizations.


  • Laura Rhodes

Research & Development Internship – One Earth Future Foundation, Colorado, USA


In addition to specific research supporting the implementation projects, the One Earth Foundation has a research program actively investigating key elements of our "Peace through Governance" argument. The research conducted by OEF is organized in distinct research tracks. Interns should have interests in international laws relevant to human rights, peace, business’ role in conflict, or the conduct of war.  Strong research and writing skills required.

OEF is an international NGO based near Boulder, Colorado. We conduct research and advocacy around governance-based solutions to armed conflict.

New internship for 2014.

Hans & Tamar Oppenheimer Chair Internship in Refugee and Migration Law - Calcutta Research Group – Calcutta, India

Born as a facilitating group in support of the peace movement in West Bengal, CRG is now well-known for its research, dialogues, and advocacy work. It has carved out a niche for itself in the scholar-activist world for its policy studies on autonomy, human rights, women’s dignity, issues of forced displacement and migration, peace and conflict resolution, citizenship, borders and border-conflicts, and other themes relevant to democracy. The emphasis that CRG places on the East and the Northeast in its research and dialogues has now resulted in a strong network of scholars, activists, and institutions in the region.

Interns will have the opportunity to work on research projects relating to immigration and refugee matters, including protection of refugees in India, the SAARC social charter, the Indian National Human Rights Commission and other legal and administrative law discourse on IDPs.


  • Charlotte-Anne Malischewski (2013)

Avocats sans frontières Canada (ASFC), Quebec City

This internship will take place entirely in French. Ce stage se déroulera entièrement en français.

ASFC est une ONG dont la mission est de soutenir la défense des droits des personnes les plus vulnérables par le renforcement de l’accès à la justice et à la représentation légale. Fondée au Canada en octobre 2002, ASFC compte sur plus de 25 employés à temps complet à son siège de Québec et sur le terrain, de même que sur environ 200 bénévoles. ASFC met actuellement en œuvre des programmes de coopération en Haïti, en Colombie et au Guatemala. Pour en savoir davantage: www.asfcanada.ca.

Comme stagiaire, vous participerez à la production du contenu juridique des programmes et des activités internationales d’ASFC, et seconderez la rédaction de documents juridiques d’ordre général, notamment les politiques, les principes et les manuels d’ASFC. De plus, vous serez appelé à participer à la vérification diligente du cadre légal et règlementaire applicable aux projets et effectuerez des recherches juridiques sur les thèmes requis ou utiles aux projets et aux activités. Vous contribuerez également à la préparation d’interventions ponctuelles et au suivi de thèmes juridiques d’intérêt général ou transversaux. Finalement, vous verrez à répondre à toute demande urgente et ponctuelle demandée par l’équipe des services juridiques.


  • Diya Bouchedid (2013)

Katharine A. Pearson Chair Internship in Civil Society & Public Policy, at the Akwesasne Justice Department - Cornwall, ON (near Canada/USA border)

NEW for 2014!

Akwesasne borders the countries of Canada and the United States of America; the Canadian Provinces of Ontario and Quebec; and the American State of New York. Despite the apparent difficulties of this multi-jurisdictional location, this Mohawk Community of about 13,000 Peoples, has learned how to maneuver effectively, to make the best that we can of our situation. Despite the negative media coverage concerning the use of some of our People in unrestrained cross-border enterprise, our People have been able to create an honorable, and viable Mohawk society and an strong economic base for its People.

Over the past ten years, dynamic changes have provided this Mohawk Community the opportunity to responsibly manage their Infrastructure, Health and Social Services, Judicial and Law Enforcement System, Environment and Conservation, and Housing and Economic Initiatives.

At a time when the Government of Canada is advocating Partnerships and Native Self-Government, Akwesasne is well on its way, using its own initiative. We are ready to responsibly manage our internal structures, our numerous Human and Natural Resources, and to build a viable Sustainable Economy.

The Katharine A. Pearson Chair Internship in Civil Society and Public Policy is an opportunity to work in the community on legislation using the values of the community and principles of the Great Law of Peace in front of a Mohawk-run Court Law. Interns will work closely with supervisors revising the Charter for the Akwesasne Review Commission to ensure the Courts judicial independence. 

Previous internships not currently offered

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Canada

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada has a mandate to learn the truth about what happened in the residential schools and to inform all Canadians about what happened in the schools. The Commission will document the truth of what happened by relying on records held by those who operated and funded the schools, testimony from officials of the institutions that operated the schools, and experiences reported by survivors, their families, communities and anyone personally affected by the residential school experience and its subsequent impacts.

The Commission hopes to guide and inspire First Nations, Inuit, Métis peoples and Canadians in a process of truth and healing, leading toward reconciliation and renewed relationships based on mutual understanding and respect.

The Commission views reconciliation as an ongoing individual and collective process that will require participation from all those affected by the residential school experience. This includes First Nations, Inuit, and Métis former students, their families, communities, religious groups, former Indian Residential School employees, government, and the people of Canada.


  • Eden Alexander (2011)
  • Cassandra Porter (2011)
  • Celina Kilgallen-Asencio (2012)
  • Alexandra Olshefsky (2013)

LLDRL Internship on Decent Work for Domestic Workers at LAWA-Ghana – Accra, Ghana

This internship will take place at LAWA-Ghana. LAWA-Ghana was founded in 1998 by Ghanaian Alumnae of Female Lawyers, who participated in a Master of Law (LL.M.) Degree Program at Georgetown University under the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) exchange programme. LAWA-Ghana aims to use various strategies to promote public policy on the human rights of women in Ghana and to network with like-minded organisations to promote the human rights of women in Africa.

Interns generally work on research, which is one of the major activities of LAWA-GHANA. This work focuses on the legal issues relating to its mission of promoting public policy in women’s rights in Ghana and in Africa. Although based in Accra, interns almost always have an opportunity to visit project sites to enhance their experience. Much of LAWA-Ghana’s work is done in the 10 regions of the country in addition to their work in the capital Accra. Some interns also pull together our publications to be used for training and workshops and so that researchers have quick access to material.


  • Angela Slater (2013)

Amnesty International Canada
The Canadian Centre for International Justice – Amnesty International and the Canadian Centre for International Justice (CCIJ), Ottawa, Canada [SUSPENDED for 2012]

Amnesty International (AI) is an independent, non-partisan, non-governmental organization. The organization deals with topics as diverse as death penalty, business and human rights, maternal health and refugees. AI Canada (AIC) has focused extensively on indigenous rights as well as immigration and refugee issues and increasingly works on national security.

The Canadian Centre for International Justice (CCIJ) is a charitable organization that works with survivors of genocide, torture and other atrocities to seek redress and bring perpetrators to justice. CCIJ works with people in Canada who have experienced serious human rights violations.

Type of work done by previous interns includes:

  • Conducting research and analyzing legal documents;
  • Attending and rapporteuring hearings of the Military Police Complaints Commission and the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal;
  • Summarizing testimonies, notable evidence or submissions by counsel and rulings of the hearings;
  • Contributing to the organization’s blog by writing daily feedback reports on hearings;
  • Working with the Canadian Centre for International Justice (CCIJ) by helping organize public events to raise awareness of severe human rights violations and the Continuing Legal Education Course on Criminal and Civil Liability for War Crimes, Genocide and Torture in Toronto;
  • Examining the state of universal jurisdiction in Canadian legislation;
  • Drafting legal documents and memos.


  • Caylee Hong (2010)
  • Bill Shipley  (2011)

International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Arusha, Tanzania [SUSPENDED]

This internship has been suspended until further notice.

Past interns:

  • Anna Matas (2004)
  • Will Paterson  (2004)
  • Delphine Lourteau  (2005)
  • Naomi Kikoler (2005)
  • Kirk Shannon  (2006)
  • Julia Turvey  (2007)
  • Marie-Andrée Larouche  (2008)
  • Jeannine Plamondon  (2009)
  • Anja Kortenaar (2010)

Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales – Buenos Aires, Argentina

This internship is suspended until further notice.


  • Elena Haba (2010)
  • Keiran Gibbs  (2011)

IAIN Aceh’s Legal Aid Centre, Aceh, Indonesia

This internship is no longer offered.

Former interns:

  • Philip Duguay (2008)
  • Kaitlin Meredith (2008)

International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES), Colombo, Sri Lanka

This internship is no longer offered.

Former Interns:

  • Charmaine de los Reyes (2003)
  • Erika Sasson  (2004)
  • Parul Shah  (2005)
  • Jennifer Poirier  (2006)

The Canadian Human Rights Foundation (CHRF), Montreal, Canada

This internship is no longer offered.

Former Interns:

  • Laura Stone  (2003)
  • Kerri Joffe  (2004)
  • Amina Chaoui  (2005)
  • Frédéric Wilson  (2006)
  • Gaël Pétillon (2007)

The Africa and Middle East Refugee Assistance (AMERA) Legal Aid Project - Cairo, Egypt

This internship is no longer offered.

Former Interns:

  • Marina Sharpe  (2003)
  • Anne-Marie Loong  (2004)
  • Delphine Mauger  (2005)
  • Jessica Adley  (2006)
  • Sybil Thompson  (2007)

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRC), Lahore, Pakistan

This internship is no longer offered.

Former Interns:

  • Samantha Lamb  (2003)
  • Katherine Ramsey  (2004)
  • Nicole Anthony  (2005)
  • Emilie Paquin-Holmsted  (2006)
  • William Fyfe  (2007)

Shuraako - One Earth Future Foundation – Colorado, USA

Requirements & Desired Background:  Ideal background is business/Human Rights or Business/Investment/Development. This position will also work closely with the Business Initiatives.

Shuraako is working to promote investment into promising business models and social enterprises in Somalia. Shuraako believes that job creation fosters stability and peace, and is the key to rebuilding Somalia. Developing the business sector generates financial and social revenues.  Shuraako aims to help facilitate and coordinate ongoing efforts that support trade, investment and other economic development efforts in Somalia, including but not limited to: Security and Stabilization, Trade & Investment Regulation, Capacity Building & Training and Remittance & Banking Institutions. Shuraako works with all stakeholders involved in this process.

Shuraako is a program of the One Earth Future Foundation (OEF), a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization with a vision of developing effective systems of multi-stakeholder governance on select issues to reduce armed conflict. As an operating foundation, OEF focuses on both research and developing ideas, and implementing those ideas in practical projects.


  • James Burman (2013)

Refugee Law Project (RLP), Uganda

This internship is suspended until further notice.

Former interns:

  • Sam Walker  (2008)
  • Justin Dubois  (2009)
  • Kelly McMillan  (2010)
  • Nelly Marcoux  (2011)
  • Molly Joeck (2012)