Looking to work in Europe on promoting and defending human rights? The continent offers a rich hub of organizations committed to protecting people all over the world, whether it’s children affected by war or workers looking to unionize. Here are five of those organizations:
Founded in the UK, this NGO also has offices in the Netherlands and Canada. Two British filmmakers in 1993 founded War Child after visiting former Yugoslavia. That same year, the first convoy headed to the area. War Child’s mission is to provide assistance to kids who live in areas with conflict or are suffering from a conflict’s aftermath. The organization emphasizes the arts and sports, which give kids the ability to express their emotions. When kids experience war, they often forget how to be children. Re-learning how to play and be carefree again is very healing.
Careers at War Child include Account Managers, Country Directors, Child Protection Coordinators, and Gender Specialists. To get your foot in the door, it’s a good idea to look into the role of Sports and Games Volunteer for the TeamUp division. At just three hours per week, it’s a great fit for students 21 and older, and War Child will always need volunteers. Your responsibility would be to organize and supervise games and activities for kids staying in refugee centers.
Founded in 1961, Amnesty International is a UK-based nonprofit dedicated to providing legal advocacy, research, and more for those suffering around the world. Using the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a guide, AI has won awards for its work, including the 1977 Nobel Peace Prize for its advocacy against torture. Torture is one of six areas AI focuses on, which include rights of refugees, prisoners of conscience, the protection of humanity dignity, the abolition of the death penalty, and the rights of children, women, minorities, and indigenous communities.
As such a large organization, there are lots of career types available. They have a portal where you can search by location, job category, and more. If a job isn’t available, AI also has volunteer positions. One of the more recent opportunities is the Social Media Volunteer. These short-term positions only require 2-3 days per week and involve creating and promoting multimedia content via all sorts of social media and blogs. Depending on where the content is going, another language besides English is required.
Created in 1922 when ten organizations come together, FIDH (abbreviation is from the French name) now consists of 184 human rights orgs in over 100 countries. Their united mission is to protect human rights according to the values of mandates like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Its headquarters, known as The International Secretariat, is located in Paris, France with delegations to Geneva, New York City, the Hague, and other places.
There are only 45 permanent positions at the Secretariat, and the org also offers internships. Requirements include a background in International/Criminal Law, Political Science, or a similar field. English fluency is a must, as is proficiency in French.
Founded in 1839, Anti-Slavery International is the world’s oldest international human rights organization. As its name indicates, it focuses on ending slavery in all its forms. Its victories include successfully lobbying the UK government to make sex trafficking and labor exploitation a criminal offense in 2004, and getting the UK to sign a 2011 EU law protecting victims of trafficking.
You can look up available jobs and volunteer positions on the website. It looks like most jobs require previous experience in a human rights field or international development. As an example, the role of a Programme Support Coordinator requires a minimum of 4 years of grant management work and work with local NGOs.
As the largest trade union the UK, this 1993-founded org was created when three public sector trade unions united. Its goal is to ensure equality in the workplace where everyone’s rights are respected. Within UNISON, there are “self-organized” groups comprised of members of the LGBT community, black members, disabled members, more.
UNISON careers are varied. On their Business Case Studies page, they describe opportunities for those who “have the potential to be trade union organizers,” as well as administrative workers and legal advisors. The page also says the org is developing an apprenticeship program in administration and campaigning, though it’s not clear when this page was updated.