International Internships: United Nations

Australian Delegation to the United Nations Human Rights Council

Geneva, Switzerland. Each year three opportunities arise for Australians to undertake self-funded internships at the Australian Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva during the sessions of the UN Human Rights Council (and sometimes the preceding session of the Universal Periodic Review). The Mission seeks people with the skills, education, knowledge and abilities to contribute to advancing Australia's national interests in the UN. Applicants should possess relevant qualifications and background, with preference being given to those who have completed, or are completing, tertiary studies in areas such as political science, international relations, law, human rights, environment or international development. Prior exposure to, or demonstrated knowledge of, the United Nations system is highly desirable. The delegation has a formal application process with specific deadlines:

  • 1 - 31 Jan 2012 (for the 18 May-16 July 2012 UPR/HRC Sessions )

This internship was previously part of the Centre's Global Internship Program. Check out our former page on the Australian Delegation to the UN Human Rights Council Internship for reports from past interns.

For further information visit: Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General


International Criminal Court (ICC)

The Hague. The International Criminal Court announced the launching of the Internship Program and the Visiting Professionals Program of the ICC for nationals of the States Parties (including Australia). These programs will give participants an understanding of the Court's objectives and of the challenges faced by the organisation in general and a detailed knowledge of the mission and work of one area of the Court in particular. Furthermore the Court is seeking candidates with very good academic qualifications and in the case of Visiting Professionals, relevant professional experience and expertise, with a commitment to positively contribute to the achievement of the aims of the Programme.

For the Internship Program the Court welcomes highly motivated young professionals (35 years old and younger) with good academic qualifications to serve for a period between three and six months full time. The Visiting Professionals Program targets candidates who have extensive academic and/or professional expertise in an area of work relevant to or related to the Court to serve for a period between one and six months full time (no age limit). Interns and Visiting Professionals will not be remunerated for their work. However, the Court has limited funds to support Interns and Visiting Professionals who are deemed to be most in need of financial assistance in order to take up a placement at the Court (a stipend of EUR 1000 per calendar month to cover the costs of living in The Hague). Deadlines are set by each of the participating Organs of the Court.

For further information on the programmes including the application procedure and the eligibility requirements, visit: International Criminal Court: Internship and Visiting Professionals


International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY)

The Hague. The Internship Programme of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia offers professionals, graduate students and undergraduate students who are in their final stages of education the possibility to enhance their professional training in the unique environment of an international court. The Regular Internship Programme assigns interns to each of the three constituent organs of the Tribunal: the Registry, the Chambers, and the Office of the Prosecutor. The duration of the Regular Internship can range from a minimum of three months to a maximum of six months.

In addition to the Regular Internship Programme, the Tribunal also accepts a limited number of interns under a Restricted Internship Programme with the Office of the Prosecutor. Interns under the Restricted Internship Programme are accepted under specific conditions for a duration of two to three months. Preference is given to those who can stay three months. The Restricted Internship Programme is open to applicants in their second year of studies and beyond. Accordingly, the level of work is more suitable for those who are not yet in the final stages of their degree programme.

Applicants should submit their application approximately six months prior to their proposed official starting date: 2012 official starting dates

For further information, please visit: ICTY internships or email the Human Resources Section at

Also, check out the Castan Centre's former Global Internship Program ICTY page which contains reports from past ICTY interns about their experiences as interns. Successful Intern applicant shares her experience.


International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea

Hamburg, Germany. The purposes of the internship programme of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea are to give the participants the opportunity to gain an understanding of the work and functions of the Tribunal and to enable the Tribunal and its Members to benefit from the assistance of persons with relevant knowledge and skills in areas within the scope of activities of the Tribunal. Participants in the programme will be expected to be able to contribute to the work of the Tribunal in the fields of, inter alia, the law of the sea, public international law, international organizations and international relations, political science, public information, publications and library science, and translation.

Approximately twenty unpaid internships are available each year for young government officials or students of law, international relations, public relations, political science, library science and translation and have completed at least three years of university studies. Internships usually cover a period of three months, but in exceptional cases, individual internships may be extended.

Internship periods:

  • January to March: application to be submitted by 30 September of previous year
  • April to June: application to be submitted by 31 December of previous year
  • July to September: application to be submitted by 31 March
  • October to December: application to be submitted by 30 June

For further information, please visit: International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea Internship Programme


Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

Geneva, Switzerland and others. The UNHCR is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country. The UNHR offers internships depending on UNHCR requirements and the qualifications and interests of the applicant. Most interns work on a project which will benefit both them and UNHCR, in fields such as refugee protection (legal), international relations, administration and public affairs.

Internships at UNHCR are on an on-going basis and are offered throughout the year, depending on the availability of meaningful assignments and the needs and capacity of units/offices to receive and supervise interns. Applications are submitted through an online system and there is no deadline for sending in an application form. The duration of an internship will usually last between 2 and 6 months. Internships can be offered at Headquarters (Geneva) and family duty stations in the field.

For further information, please visit: Internships with UNHCR


Permanent Court of Arbitration

The Hague. The PCA's internship program provides law students and graduates with the opportunity to participate in the functioning of the International Bureau. Internships are offered to individuals with outstanding academic records seeking work experience at an international arbitration institution. Unpaid internships are available for law students who have completed at least one year of a J.D. or LL.B.  The internship program is broken down into four terms:

  • Term 1 - January through March (deadline September 1)
  • Term 2 - April through June (deadline December 1)
  • Term 3 - July through September (deadline March 1)
  • Term 4 - October through December (deadline June 1)

For further information visit: Permanent Court of Arbitration: Internship Program

The PCA also offers a Fellowship Program for recent law graduates and young legal professionals for one full year. Fellows receive the title of Assistant Legal Counsel and over the course of the year gain experience in the operations of the PCA's International Bureau, with an emphasis on both the practical and legal aspects of international arbitration. The fellowship program is broken down into two terms:

  • Term 1 - September through August (deadline May 1)
  • Term 2 - January through December (deadline September 1)

For further information, please visit: Permanent Court of Arbitration: Fellowship Program


Special Court for Sierra Leone

Freetown, Sierra Leone. The Special Court for Sierra Leone was set up jointly by the Government of Sierra Leone and the United Nations. It is mandated to try those who bear the greatest responsibility for serious violations of international humanitarian law and Sierra Leonean law committed in the territory of Sierra Leone since 30 November 1996. Internships with the Court are offered to those proficient in English for a period of 3 months (maximum 6).

Interns in the Registry Legal Office, the Office of the Prosecutor, the Office of the Principal Defender and Chambers must have a first level degree qualification, preferably in law and must pass the Bar. Study in the area of international humanitarian law will be considered as an advantage. Interns in the Outreach and Public Affairs Section, Court Management, General Services Section, Detention, Communication/Information and Technology Section, Finance and Administrative Support Services and other offices require formal qualifications and must be recommended by their Institution, Technical College or any other qualified institution. Nationals of Sierra Leone are compensated at US $300 per month. International applicants must secure their own funding.

For further information, please visit: Special Court for Sierra Leone Internship Programme


United Nations Global Compact

New York, United States. The UN Global Compact is a strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. By doing so, business, as a primary driver of globalization, can help ensure that markets, commerce, technology and finance advance in ways that benefit economies and societies everywhere. The Global Compact Office is the UN entity responsible for the overall management and coordination of the Global Compact initiative, including the management of the Global Compact's name and logo, and the Global Compact Integrity Measures.

Unpaid internships in the Global Compact office are available for duration of three to six months. The timing of internships is flexible. Candidates are encouraged to apply for the following sessions:

  • Winter: January to March
  • Spring: April to June
  • Summer: Early July to August
  • Fall: September to December

For further information, please visit: Internships with the Global Compact

This internship is part of Castan Centre for Human Rights Law's annual Global Internship Program. Visit Castan Centre Global Internship Program for application details and the Global Internship Program page on UN Global Compact for reports from past interns.


United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)

All duty stations including Geneva. The United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS, brings together the resources of the UNAIDS Secretariat and 10 UN system organizations for coordinated and accountable efforts to unite the world against AIDS. UNAIDS Secretariat is structured into two branches: Programme and Management and External Relations. It has Regional Support Teams working in seven regions.

UNAIDS offers internship opportunities in one of UNAIDS' locations and at the offices in Geneva, Switzerland. The purpose of granting internships is to enable graduate students to participate in the work of UNAIDS, and enable them to deepen their knowledge and understanding of UNAIDS' goals, policies and activities. Eligibility to participate is normally confined to persons who are engaged in a course of study leading to an additional formal qualification in an approved graduate programme. The unit receiving the intern is responsible for the development of a relevant programme for the duration of the internship and interns are expected to devote themselves full-time to the work assigned to them. The duration of an internship is limited to a minimum of six weeks and a maximum of three months. 

Next application deadline: 31 January 2012

For further information, please visit: Internships at UNAIDS' Secretariat and Internship with UNAIDS


United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

Geneva, Switzerland. The OHCHR leads global human rights efforts and speaks out objectively in the face of human rights violations worldwide. It provides a forum for identifying, highlighting and developing responses to today's human rights challenges, and act as the principal focal point of human rights research, education, public information, and advocacy activities in the United Nations system.

The OHCHR offers three to six month internships for graduate students who are assigned to an organizational unit of OHCHR according to the needs of the Office and their own areas of interest. They are involved, inter alia, 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. Applicants must be sponsored by an academic institution and must have a good command of at least two of the six official languages of the United Nations.

There are two selections a year: the first deadline is end of April or May (conflicting information listed) to apply for the period starting from July. The second deadline is end of October for the period starting from January.

For further information, please visit: OHCHR Internship Programme


World Trade Organisation (WTO)

The World Trade Organization is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world's trading nations. The goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business.

The WTO Secretariat maintains a limited internship programme for post-graduate university students wishing to gain practical experience and deeper knowledge of the multilateral trading system. Interns between the ages of 21 and 30 are invited to apply. Assignments given to interns are intended to enhance interns' knowledge and understanding of the WTO and of trade policy more generally. However, the needs of the Division recruiting an intern will be paramount in determining the precise nature of assignments. Paid interns receive a daily allowance of CHF 60 (including week-ends and official holidays falling within the selected period). Internships generally last up to 24 weeks and can start at any time during the year. Intake to the programme is on a continuing basis, with no specific recruitment period.

For further information, please visit: WTO Internship