10 Human Rights Traineeships For Your Consideration

When starting a career in human rights, practical experience is essential. Many organizations offer traineeships specifically for those early in their careers.  Some of them, unlike most internships, also provide a stipend. This means you can get valuable experience and establish connections for the future without needing to worry about finding an additional job to pay the bills. Here are traineeships with ten human rights organizations:

Delegation of the European Union to the Council of Europe

This traineeship is available to recent graduates interested in learning about EU delegations and international relations. Trainees spend six months in the Human Rights Section of the Delegation of the EU in Strasbourg. Tasks include working on the EUDEL’s weekly report, attending meetings, organizing events, and more. The traineeship in EU Delegations has several main objectives: providing trainees with a firsthand experience of the daily work in a delegation, introducing them to the multicultural environment, allowing them to apply their knowledge, and potentially creating a pool of future collaborators for the EEAS and other EU Institutions.


PICUM, the Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants, has two traineeships programs. The Policy and Advocacy six-month traineeship is set in Brussels, where trainees work with PICUM’s secretariat on issues relevant to undocumented migrants. Applicants should have a university degree and a fluency in English. Sometimes other languages are required. This traineeship is paid.

International Committee of the Red Cross

Available in Geneva at the ICRC headquarters, this org offers around 80 traineeships per year in more than 40 sectors. ICRC is one of the world’s largest humanitarian organizations and trainees benefit greatly from the resources and experiences it can provide.

Council of Europe

Twice a year, the Council of Europe, an international org focused on supporting human rights and democracy, offers traineeships for recent graduates. The programs last between eight weeks up to five months, and include a monthly allowance of 600 EUR. Trainees must be from one of the member states of the Council and have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent.

The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights

An independent EU body, the FRA’s responsibility is to provide evidence-backed, expert assistance on human rights to other EU sectors and member states. Their traineeships are designed for recent university grads or those beginning a human rights career. According to their website, at least one traineeship lasts nine months and does pay.

Court of Justice of the European Union

This agency offers yearly five-month, paid traineeships within the admin departments of the Court and in the chambers of Members of the Court of Justice, as well as in the General Court. The ideal candidate will know French.

The European Parliament

900 Schuman traineeships are filled each year with the European Parliament, giving young people the opportunity to learn how the system works. Each traineeship lasts five months, and candidates must be at least 18 years old, possess a university-level diploma, and meet a language requirement.

The General Secretariat of the Council

Every year, the Council of the European Union offers 100 or so paid traineeships at the General Secretariat. Eligible candidates must have completed at minimum the first part of their university studies and possess a degree certificate. Each traineeship lasts five months.

European Commission

Every year, there are two paid traineeships (with room for up to 1,300 trainees) that last five months each. Trainees can work in a variety of fields, such as competition law, environmental policy, and more. They will most likely be located in Brussels, though traineeships can also be found in Luxemburg and other states of the EU. Tasks include research, organizing meetings, and communication work.

Civil Rights Defenders

A fairly new traineeship (it started in 2016), the Gerald Nagler Human Rights Traineeships is designed for lawyers just starting their careers. The traineeship is hosted at the Civil Rights Defenders’ headquarters in Stockholm, where you gain experience working with an organization founded in 1982.