Human Rights Watch offers fellowships for recent law graduates with advanced degrees. Some fellowship opportunities are open to advanced graduates of related fields such as journalism, international relations, area studies, and other similar disciplines. Each opportunity gives entry-level law professionals the chance to get first-hand experience practicing law or legal research in the areas of human and civil rights. In each of the fellowships, the fellow will conduct research on various human rights issues and abuses, either in the United States or internationally.
Fellowships are based in New York or Washington, DC, and last for one or two years. For any fellowship, research and academic experience in human rights law and related work is required, as are strong skills in oral and written communication in English. HRW prefer that fellows are fluent in at least one other language, in addition to English. Fellows are paid an annual salary with employer-paid benefits.
The Junior Professional Officer Programme (JPO) provides young professionals the opportunity to work with the United Nations for a one-year period. The number of JPO positions available vary, as do the countries they are available in. The program is part of a bilateral agreement between the UN and donor countries designed to promote development and build capacity through on-the-job training, staff support, and exposure to the development processes and interaction in developing countries.
JPOs generally are required to have an advanced degree with up to two years of work experience and work at the P1 or P2 level, although these requirements depend on the country sponsoring the position. Language and national origin requirements also vary based on the donor country. Positions also typically have specific qualifications regarding maximum age and years of work experience, since the program aims to attract young professionals. Interested applicants should spend time reviewing all qualification requirements and instructions before applying, as they vary for each donor country and position.
International Rescue Committee (IRC) offers a variety of caseworker positions for entry-level professionals. Caseworkers work with a variety of issues such as gender-based violence, refugee resettlement, immigration, and more. Generally, IRC caseworkers are in the field, working first-hand with the people the organization serves. In addition to providing services and help to clients, they are also responsible for maintaining case records, participating in trainings, and helping to refer clients to additional service providers and organizations.
Qualifications for each of these positions vary based on the need and area of work. Generally, those with an academic background and/or work experience in international development, human rights, international relations, social work, and related fields are qualified to apply for the positions. Some positions require applicants to be licensed in social work. Applicants who are fluent in a relevant language other than English are preferred; for international positions, fluency in the country’s language is usually a requirement. Positions are available in the United States, as well as in IRC international locations and offices.
The UN’s Young Professionals Programme (YPP) is designed to recruit qualified early-career professionals to careers as international civil servants with the United Nations. Through the YPP, young professionals are recruited to work in P1 and P2 positions, depending on education and previous work experience. YPP recruits work in a variety of areas, including social affairs, legal affairs, statistics, and more. During the application period, open YPP jobs are posted on the website.
In order to be accepted for the YPP, applicants must meet specific personal qualifications and pass an exam. To qualify to take the exam, applicants must have nationality from a participating country (listed on the YPP site), have at least a first-year degree in a field related to the job position, be 32 years of age or younger, and be fluent in either English or French. Those who meet the qualifications can then register to take the exam which helps determine who is accepted for the YPP cohort. This program gives participants opportunities to advance within the UN system and eventually apply for P3-level or higher jobs.
Human Rights Watch offers Associate positions for early career and entry-level professionals in the human rights field. Associates offer administrative support to various departments and teams within HRW. Many of the duties include record-keeping and data tracking, editing and preparing various materials, scheduling and organizing for meetings and conferences, assisting with interns, and more. The Associate positions provide a chance for young professionals to start their career with HRW and be involved in the various projects and campaigns the organization is part of.
Generally, applicants for Associate positions must have at least a Bachelor’s degree in a related field, as well as one year of work experience. Strong oral and written communication are required, and proficiency in a relevant language is at least preferred depending on the location of the position. HRW is also looking for entry-level applicants with skills in teamwork, interpersonal communication, creative problem-solving, and time management.
Through the Junior Professionals Programme (JPP), the Council of Europe hires Junior Professional Officers and Assistant Lawyers, giving them the opportunity to gain experience in an international institution and contribute to protecting human rights across Europe. Junior Professional Officers work at the B3-level in a variety of fields. These positions are typically offered for a period of 3 to 4 years, depending on the specific position. Assistant Lawyer positions are open to recent graduates or early-career law professionals for a four-year fixed period in the Court.
In order to qualify for these positions, applicants must have completed a higher education degree or qualification (in law for Assistant Lawyer applicants), be under 35 years of age, and have the nationality of one of the COE’s 47 member states. All positions through the Junior Professionals Programme are listed on the current vacancies page.
Don’t forget to check out our page on human rights jobs.