12 Dec

Five years after the kidnapping of human rights defender Razan Zaitouneh and her colleagues, 15 NGOs* stand in solidarity to remember them and call on the UN and international and regional actors to actively facilitate an investigation into what happened to the four human rights defenders. Join the world in acknowledging Zaitouneh’s outstanding contribution to human rights by visiting and sharing a website documenting her work. 

11 Dec

ISHR joins dozens of organisations and individuals today, ahead of a key U.S. congressional hearing, to call on Google CEO Sundar Pichai to respond meaningfully to broadly-held human rights concerns and cancel Project Dragonfly, Google's censored search app project.

09 Dec

States have a responsibility to protect fundamental freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly. The international community should refuse to turn a blind eye to gross and systematic human rights violations committed against women’s rights activists in Saudi Arabia. 

10 Dec

‘Women human rights defenders have flooded the streets, the airwaves, and the internet with their energy and their testimonials, bringing to light truths that are too often buried in darkness’ said a group of UN experts, recognising the important leadership role of women activists.

10 Dec

Today is Human Rights Day. Today is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It’s a day to say thanks and contribute to a better world through ISHR.

If I am accepted, what kind of work will I be doing?

This will depend on the needs of the team to which you are assigned. See the internship webpage for reference.

Can I do a language course?

ISHR does not fund language courses. There are, however, cheap (or even free) options. A list of these possibilities will be provided to successful applicants.

What kind of support or training can I expect during my internship?

Professional development and training are strong components of the internship. After your induction training, you will regularly have team, intern, and staff meetings. There are also a lot of opportunities to attend presentations at ISHR, to attend external events and to participate in Geneva-based trainings organised by ISHR. Please refer to the ‘professional development & training section’ for extensive information.

Where can I find more information on the internship and life in Geneva?

As soon as you receive confirmation of your internship, you will receive a welcome kit with more information on the internship and life in Geneva.
We will also provide you with an ‘intern buddy’ who will answer your questions before you arrive and help you settle in once you are here.

Is there any preliminary work to do before starting the internship?

It is strongly advised that you become familiar with the ISHR website and the various resources contained therein prior to arriving in Geneva. It is also useful to become familiar with the OHCHR website ( You may wish to check out the calendar of events to see what upcoming UN activities will be occurring during your internship, and become familiar with the information relevant to those activities.

Is an intern entitled to sick leave?

An intern is not expected to work if he/she is unwell but it is important that the supervisor be informed of any absences. Any expense relating to illness is the responsibility of the intern.

Is an intern entitled to annual leave?

Yes, interns are entitled to the same amount of leave as ISHR staff (1.67 days per month). Vacation will have to be discussed with and agreed upon in advance by your supervisor.

Are there flexible working hours?

You can change the working hours for the entire internship, with the agreement of your supervisor, but there is no possibility of having flexible daily working hours.

Aside from sessions at the UN, you are expecting to be at the office at all times. You need to ask your supervisor to work at the UN library for example.

Do I need to take out insurance in Switzerland?

A valid health and accident insurance is obligatory to reside in Switzerland (for durations of 3 months or longer). Interns who do not hold a European Health Insurance Card and who are staying for more than 3 months will need to have the ‘Check form for the equivalent of the Swiss Health Insurance’ sent to their insurance company so that they can certify full coverage according to the specific Swiss rules for the duration of the program. Should such a certification not be possible, interns will need to sign up for insurance upon arrival in Switzerland.

How many hours a week is an intern expected to work?

Interns can work full-time (7 hours per day, 35 hours per week) or it may be possible to arrange a shorter work schedule (e.g. 2.5 days a week). The working hours are from Monday to Friday, 0900-1700. This includes a lunch break of one hour. As the work entails extensive coverage of human rights meetings, interns undertake to make themselves available, as far as is possible, to cover such meetings whenever they take place. This may include evening sessions beyond the 0900-1700 work schedule.


Browse our articles:






ISHR commences work to develop an international Declaration on the Rights of Human Rights Defenders


ISHR publishes first Human Rights Monitor, connecting human rights defenders on the ground with international human rights systems and developments


ISHR facilitates global civil society engagement with the Second World Conference on Human Rights, which leads to the strengthening of women’s rights, the affirmation of universal rights, the adoption of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action and the establishment of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights


ISHR provides training, technical assistance and support to its 1000th human rights defender


After 14 years of ISHR lobbying, advocacy and negotiation, the UN General Assembly adopts the landmark Declaration on Human Rights Defenders


UN Secretary-General appoints Hina Jilani as inaugural UN Special Representative on Human Rights Defenders, strengthening protection of human rights advocates at risk worldwide.


ISHR leads a successful campaign for the appointment of a Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights


ISHR co-founds and supports a range of international and regional human rights coalitions, including the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition, the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project and the West African Human Rights Defenders Network


ISHR contributes to the establishment and institution building of a new global peak body for human rights issues, the UN Human Rights Council


ISHR leads and coordinates the development of the Yogyakarta Principles on sexual orientation and gender identity, strengthening legal recognition and protection of LGBT rights worldwide


ISHR’s sustained advocacy on the issue of reprisals and intimidation faced by human rights defenders leads to adoption of landmark UN Human Rights Council resolution condemning and strengthening protections against reprisals


Working with key NGO partners such as Amnesty International, ISHR leads civil society efforts to strengthen UN human rights treaty bodies, prevent their weakening and better connect their work with victims and human rights defenders on the ground


Working with supportive states and NGOs, ISHR advocacy leads to adoption of historic Human Rights Council resolution calling on all States to review and amend national laws to respect and protect the work of human rights defenders