Minority Rights Group International (MRG) Deputy Director, Claire Thomas, writes this opinion piece for the Thomson Reuters News Foundation.+ LEARN MORE
Minority Rights Group International
January– April 2018
Overview of the organisation’s mission and activities
Minority Rights Group International (MRG) is a nongovernmental organisation (NGO) working to secure the rights of ethnic, religious, and linguistic minorities and indigenous peoples worldwide, and to promote cooperation and understanding between communities. Our activities are focused on international advocacy, training, publishing and outreach. We are guided by the needs expressed by our worldwide partner network of organisations, which represent minority and indigenous peoples.
MRG works with over 150 organisations in nearly 50 countries. Our governing Council, which meets twice a year, has members from 10 different countries. MRG has consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), observer status with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and is a civil society organization registered with the Organisation of American States (OAS). MRG is registered as a charity and a company limited by guarantee under English law, registered charity no. 282305, limited company no. 1544957.
More information about MRG activities and work can be found on our website: www.minorityrights.org – click on “Our Work”.
Specific role and responsibilities during the internship:
MRG’s legal programme focuses on strategic litigation on minority rights and indigenous issues. Interns assist in identifying gaps in the law for the selection of new cases and will also assist in research and writing of legal memos in support of existing cases. Interns are also responsible for undertaking research on emerging standards in international law that relate to minorities and indigenous peoples.
MRG currently has experience litigating cases before the European Court of Human Rights, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. MRG has also supported litigation before the UN Human Rights Committee and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The litigation focuses primarily on land rights, political participation and wider anti-discrimination issues. For a full overview of our legal work, you are encouraged to visit our website – see http://minorityrights.org/law-and-legal-cases/
MRG’s legal interns gain full hands-on experience of our legal work. Full engagement in the research, analysis and drafting of cases is essential. As much of our work covers the new legal ground, we also count on interns’ creativity to help establish new jurisprudence. In the past, interns have for example been involved in developing arguments on the Right to Development for an indigenous land rights case against Kenya. These were subsequently argued before the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Interns can also expect to have contact with MRG’s partner organisations, with MRG staff in other international offices, and with staff in other departments in London.
Length of internship
MRG recruits interns for a minimum period of three months, working part-time (3 days a week). Usually, internships can be extended upon mutual agreement, depending on programme requirements for another three months.
Publishing/advocacy and research opportunities
Previous interns have had opportunities to publish original research based on their work at MRG. We have published interns’ blogs and photo stories, and we have assisted interns in publishing academic work and op-eds related to our cases. Potential travels to Geneva before the United Nations committees.
Particular skills necessary
We require interns to have strong research skills on both electronic legal databases (e.g. Lexis Nexis) and library materials. Interns must have excellent legal writing skills. Interns must have an understanding of international human rights law. Some degree of familiarity with economic, social and cultural rights, as well as minority rights and/or indigenous rights, is also ideal, but not essential. For candidates with little or no knowledge of this area, we would ask for some detail on how their skills can be beneficial to our programme.
Fluent French is essential for this role.
Experience conducting human rights research in the field is desirable. Experience working in partnership with human rights or related organisations in the field is also desirable.
How to Apply
If you are interested in this internship, please send through attachments of your CV and motivation letter to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The deadline to apply is 9am on 7 January 2019, interviews will be scheduled the following week in person or by Skype and the start date will be as soon as possible.
Funding/Reimbursement of expenses
Unfortunately, MRG is not able to fund the internship; however, interns’ expenses will be reimbursed upon production of receipts: up to £16.5 /day for lunch and travel expenses.
If you do not already have a visa/permission to work in the UK, MRG can provide support for candidates’ visa applications. MRG is registered as an A-rated sponsor with the Home Office.