28 Dec

As the year draws to a close, I am so proud of the work of my colleagues at ISHR, together with our partners around the globe, towards a world which is more fair, just, compassionate and peaceful.

And I am so thankful for your support in achieving this progress. 

27 Dec

The first ever UN General Assembly High Level Event has taken place to mark twenty years since the adoption of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.  States and UN officials made significant statements about the importance of the work of human rights defenders, but all at a time of multiplying threats and attacks against defenders globally.

26 Dec

In a major new report on the situation for human rights defenders globally and at country level in over a decade,  the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders suggests that restrictions placed on those defending rights and attacks against them amounts to a war being waged against human rights defenders.

26 Dec

In a victory for human rights defenders, the Inter-American Court on Human Rights approved a settlement between the Honduran government and the family of the killed environmental rights defender Carlos Escaleras. The settlement includes progressive measures not only to bring justice to the Escaleras family, but also to challenge the stigmatisation of human rights defenders.

18 Dec

The General Assembly today voted on key resolutions, such as the freedom of peaceful assembly and association. Generally, these resolutions received even greater support than before, which is positive news for human rights defenders and their work. 

Where is ISHR located?

ISHR is located at 1 rue de Varembé, near the United Nations. The area is well serviced by public transport, restaurants and a supermarket. Check the Geneva public transport website for more details:

You will also have access to a large choice of international organisation’s staff cafeterias such as the UNHCR. By public transport, ISHR is only a short trip from the train station, the airport and the city centre.

Are interns paid?

The internship is unpaid.

What should I wear/bring for the first day of the internship?

The first days of your internship will be dedicated to induction sessions. On your first day you will need to go to the UN to get accredited. You will need to bring your passport in order to collect your UN badge and laptop (if you have one). You can dress quite casually at the office but you may like to bring business attire or smarter clothes for the UN.

How many internship positions are offered?

There are typically two internships at a time for the Program team and one other internship for the other teams.

What is the dress code?

Business or smart at the UN and smart or casual in the office.

What happens after I have submitted my application?

If your application has been shortlisted, you will be contacted for an interview. You will be notified shortly thereafter as to whether your application has been successful.

Can undergraduates apply?

Yes, undergraduates can apply for ISHR internships.

What level of language fluency is required?

This depends on the type of program for which you are applying. Generally, you must have an excellent command of English and a good command of French is desirable.

How do I apply for the internship? What are the requirements?

This depends on the type of program for which you are applying. Refer to the ‘vacancies’ section for details.
Please also note that if you are a non EU/EFTA citizen and the internship is not integral to your studies, or if you are a non EU/EFTA citizen and have already completed an internship in Geneva, we may not be able to secure your work visa.

Reports and briefing papers

ISHR produces regular briefing papers on the situation of human rights defenders in a range of countries, monitors and reports on the regular sessions of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights and the NGO Forum that precedes each of these sessions, and also produces reports on our key thematic areas of concern, such as intimidation and reprisals against human rights defenders.



Let’s start with a seemingly unconventional proposition: civil society and business share the same space, and therefore should share an interest in defending what unites them. How controversial is that proposition, really?, ask Bennett Freeman, Mauricio Lazala and ISHR's Michael Ineichen. 

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