United States

U.S. Program Intern (Graduate)


New York, NY (United States)

Position Type



Fall 2017


September 22, 2017 11:59PM ET

ID Reference



The United States Program of Human Rights Watch (“HRW”) is seeking graduate or law student interns for the fall of 2017. Ideally, the interns will be available 8 hours per week starting from September 2017 until December 2017 (dates are flexible). The internship will primarily focus on research related to U.S. human rights issues, especially those related to criminal justice and sexual assault. The intern will learn about bail and sentencing reform, use of fines and fees, criminalization of poverty, criminalization of drug possession, and the mishandling of sexual assault cases. 

Internships are unpaid. Students are often able to arrange academic credit, as HRW internships often offer direct exposure to the workings of an international human rights organization, close supervision by HRW staff, interaction with other US and international organizations and foreign and domestic government officials, and opportunities to attend lectures, trainings, and special events relating to human rights. Students should check with their individual academic institutions for requirements.


The internship will involve:
  • Conducting legal research; 
  • Using resources such as media, policy papers, and academic reports to conduct research; 
  • Using complex research tools such as legal libraries and platforms; 
  • Monitoring legislation and US polices related to criminal justice; 
  • Identifying and understanding key issues; 
  • Compiling case histories and researching relevant state and federal policies; 
  • Presenting information in a compelling manner; 
  • Taking part in some basic advocacy activities such as drafting and/or submitting official requests (including Freedom of Information Act requests) to courthouses, departments, and agencies and contacting public officials, when appropriate; and 
  • Close supervision and evaluation sessions to provide feedback and support.


  • Enrollment in an accredited graduate or law program for the duration of the internship term; 
  • Strong interest in US domestic human and civil rights issues, particularly related to criminal justice and sexual assault policy; 
  • Demonstrated commitment to human rights; 
  • Computer skills (e.g., Microsoft Office, internet applications) and experience completing social science and/or legal research; 
  • Relevant coursework is highly desirable; and 
  • Knowledge of Spanish is a plus.

Equal Opportunity Employer

Human Rights Watch is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate in its hiring practices and, in order to build the strongest possible workforce, actively seeks a diverse applicant pool.

About Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch is an international human rights monitoring and advocacy organization known for its in-depth investigations, its incisive and timely reporting, its innovative and high-profile advocacy campaigns, and its success in changing the human rights-related policies and practices of influential governments and international institutions.

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