The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) is inviting applications for fellowships to support work in New York, USA.

About the Organizer

The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) is an independent, non-profit organization with offices in Geneva and New York. This fellowship offers a unique opportunity to view the United Nations human rights system at work.

It provides hands-on experience working for an international non-governmental organization (NGO) as well as the opportunity to contribute to work supporting human rights defenders, strengthening human rights systems, building, and leading human rights coalitions, and responding to significant and systemic human rights concerns.

About the Fellowship

ISHR seeks to host a postgraduate law fellow to support work in New York. The Fellow will have the opportunity to collaborate with ISHR staff in all locations. Working in a small team, the Fellow will have the opportunity to learn at very close hand what it means to work for an international human rights advocacy organization.

In a year’s work with ISHR, the Fellow will gain experience monitoring a number of deliberations and negotiations at the United Nations and lobbying and advocating those in line with ISHR’s mandate and priorities. The Fellow will gain hands-on experience in the application of international human rights law in a multilateral human rights system, including advocacy on normative and policy advances for the protection of human rights defenders.

The Fellow will also contribute to work on capacity development and legislative protection of defenders at the national level. There may also be opportunities to work at the regional level with the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights.

Roles and Responsibilities

Through a combination of research and analysis, advocacy, capacity building, and media work, the Fellow will work closely with the ISHR New York Office Co-Directors and program staff, contributing to work supporting human rights defenders, strengthening human rights systems, building and leading human rights coalitions, and responding to significant and systemic situations of concern.

Key tasks include:

  • Supporting legal counsel in preparing submissions to national, regional, and international human rights mechanisms and courts;
  • Assisting with research in relation to international human rights mechanisms, including the Universal Periodic Review and the UN treaty bodies;
  • Representing ISHR at meetings and in coalition work with other NGOs and UN contacts;
  • Assisting with ISHR’s work with regional human rights defenders’ networks and human rights bodies at the regional level;
  • Monitoring and taking minutes at UN human rights meetings;
  • Contributing to ISHR’s publications, including drafting and editing online web articles, briefing papers, and other reports as needed.

Eligibility Criteria

The successful fellow must:

  • Be a recent graduate from an ABA-accredited law school, having taken up relevant coursework in a J.D. or LL.M. program. Exceptional recent graduates from other relevant graduate-level programs will be considered;
  • Have working knowledge of international human rights law;
  • Demonstrate familiarity with the UN human rights system, regional human rights systems and mechanisms, and/or human rights defenders;
  • Have strong drafting and research skills;
  • Be committed to international human rights;
  • Be able to report thoroughly and accurately on meetings;
  • Be flexible and self-motivated;
  • Be able to work as a member of an international and multicultural team and be willing to participate in a variety of tasks, as required;
  • Have excellent written and oral communication skills in English. Knowledge of official UN languages, especially Spanish, French, and Chinese, is desirable;
  • Be authorized to work in the US.

How to Apply?

Please submit your application by sending a cover letter, a CV (no picture and max 2 pages), 2 writing samples (including bibliographies), and a description of your funding source at the end of this post.

In their cover letter, candidates should demonstrate their commitment to human rights and social change.

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis.


Applicants should be fully funded through a university-funded or external fellowship for the entire duration of their fellowship.

The fellowship is expected to be a full-time (37.5 hours per week) position and to take place in person in the New York office.


Some of the benefits provided include:

  • 20 days paid annual leave;
  • Office closure between Christmas and New Year;
  • Paid public holidays;
  • Paid sick leave;
  • Stipend for health insurance.

Click here to apply.