The human rights field is emerging as an employment sector, but it has not been recognized as distinct for long enough to generate a large body of information specific to the topic. Nevertheless, there are some web sites that have collected information about careers in the field, including volunteer opportunities, which can be treated as human rights internships.
Two good places to begin searching for careers in human rights are the University of Kent, and the University of Minnesota. Both of these universities have compiled lists of organizations and firms who specialize in areas related to human rights. Another resource is the Guide to International Human Rights Internships (hrusa.org).
Some of the entities which may offer employment related to human rights are governments (both central and local), organizations, charities, academic institutions, law firms, pressure groups and political action groups. Familiar organization names are Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, One World, Amicus, and many more. A large number of law firms may offer internships which focus on topics related to human rights.
Schools in Europe and the United Kingdom are now offering degrees in Human Rights where those who are serious about Human Rights may wish to look into the possibility. Areas which human rights internships may deal with include refugee protection, field investigation, public relations, fundraising, lobbying, education, legal research, advocacy campaigns, conflict resolution, and office work.
Since the infrastructure of the human rights sector is not as well developed as some other fields, special arrangements may need to be made with a college or university for academic credit to be given. Also, the likelihood of finding a paid internship may be lower than in some other fields. On the other hand, young people interested in the human rights field may be passionate enough in their beliefs to be more willing to volunteer for hands-on experience in a human rights position.
Competition for these internships with well-known organizations may be steep. Applicants should expect to be required to write about the relevance of the assignment to their long-term goals, and perhaps supply references verifying their commitment to the protection of human rights. Volunteer work in a related organization will be helpful in the acceptance process.
For those with a strong desire to enter the human rights field pursuing an internship may be an important step to break into a career.