Business & Human Rights

Development & Human Rights Intern


Washington, DC (United States)

Position Type



Summer 2018


March 01, 2018 11:59PM ET

ID Reference



The Business and Human Rights Division of Human Rights Watch (HRW) is seeking a law student or graduate student intern with an interest in international development, economics, international relations, human rights, poverty and inequality, or related fields seeking to expand their understanding of development and the international human rights field. Ideally, the intern will be available for a 10-week period starting in May or June 2018 in our Washington, D.C. office (start date is flexible). The student will intern closely with the division’s Senior Researcher/Advocate on International Financial Institutions by contributing to research, analysis, and outreach tasks in the context of development and human rights, including projects related to the World Bank and other international financial institutions (IFIs). 

The internship is 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 organizations, and 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. We recommend that students secure funding through external scholarships and grants. Please check with your academic institution for more information on possible sources of funding. 

Additional opportunities: 
  • Direct exposure to the workings of a large, international human rights organization, as well as to the HRW report research, writing, and publication processes; 
  • Induction training on the internal working of HRW; 
  • Participation in select in-house events such as a speaker series events, and other events organized within the organization, particularly for interns; and 
  • Possibility to obtain academic credit (students should check with their individual academic institution for requirements).


  • Research assistance: The intern will use online resources to conduct desk research, including reviewing and analyzing media articles, policy papers, IFI project documents, and academic and NGO reports. 
  • Media monitoring: The intern will monitor ongoing development projects, including World Bank, IMF, ADB, EBRD, and EIB projects, and track the preparation/approval of new projects. 
  • Advocacy activities: The intern will draft memos, project analyses, letters, press releases, and other written materials. The intern may also have the opportunity to attend meetings at the World Bank and the US Treasury, as well as with the IFC and the Coalition for Human Rights in Development.


A successful applicant will demonstrate: 
  • A passion for and an eagerness to learn more about human rights and international issues related to development; 
  • An exemplary academic record combined with relevant coursework and/or research/work/clinical/practical experiences; 
  • Self-motivation and strong attention to detail; 
  • Excellent interpersonal, oral, and written communication skills in English (knowledge of other languages is a plus); and 
  • Computer skills (e.g. Microsoft Office, internet applications). 

Applicants who are offered an internship, but who are not US permanent residents, US citizens, or in possession of a valid student visa, must apply for a J-1 visa through a sponsoring organization. Please note that this process can take several weeks and applicants will be responsible for costs incurred. 

Human Rights Watch is strengthened profoundly by our diversity and our differences in background, culture, experience, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, and more. We actively seek and welcome applications from persons with disabilities, people of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, women, and LGBTQI+ persons.

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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