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
November 2019 – April 2020
Overview of 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 (including litigation), 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 around 130 organisations in over 60 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.
Specific role and responsibilities during the Internship :
MRG’s legal department focuses on strategic litigation on minority rights and indigenous issues,
together with holistic advocacy designed to complement the litigation. The Legal Intern will
assist in identifying gaps in the law for selection of new cases and will also assist in research and
writing of legal memos in support of existing cases. The Legal Intern will draft legal pleadings
when the opportunity arises and correspondence in pending cases. The Legal Intern will be
involved in paralegal training, media work, and formal policy and advocacy work. Finally, the
Legal Intern will be responsible for undertaking research on emerging standards in international
law that relate to minorities and indigenous peoples. The issues we deal with are as diverse as
securing rights to land and natural resources in East Africa to ensuring participation in political
processes in Europe.
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
The Legal Intern will gain thorough, hands-on experience of MRG’s legal work. Their full
engagement in the research, analysis and drafting of cases is essential. As much of our work
covers new legal ground, we also count on their creativity to help establish new jurisprudence.
The Legal Intern can also expect to have significant contact with MRG’s partner organisations,
with MRG staff in other international offices, and with staff in other departments in London.
Length of internship
This internship is for six months, working part time (2 or 3 days a week). Usually internships can
be extended upon mutual agreement, depending on programme requirements for another three
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 bodies is also a possibility.
Particular skills necessary
The Internship is open to law graduates. We require Legal Interns to demonstrate strong research
skills on both electronic legal databases (e.g. Lexis Nexis) and library materials. Legal Interns
must also have show excellent legal writing skills and 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
Ideally, the Legal Interns would also be able to at least read in a second (French being desirable).
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.
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 £16.50/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.
Please send a CV, covering letter and short writing sample by 31 October 2019 to email@example.com