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Full-time Fellowship Africa programme

Length: 1 year Based in: Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire or remotely in Africa Reports to: Africa Programme Manager Start date: August or September 2023 Application deadline: 11 June 2023 (Midnight, Geneva time)

About ISHR

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 international and regional human rights systems at work. It provides hands-on experience working for an international non-governmental organization (NGO) as well as the opportunity to contribute to our work supporting human rights defenders, strengthening human rights systems, legal frameworks, building and leading human rights coalitions, and responding to significant and systemic human rights concerns. For more information, consult our website

The position

ISHR seeks to host a postgraduate Fellow to support our work within the Africa Programme.

Working in a small team, the Fellow will have the opportunity to learn at close hand what it means to work for an international human rights advocacy organization. The Fellow will also have the opportunity to collaborate with ISHR staff in all locations.

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

The Fellow will also contribute to our work on capacity development and legislative protection of defenders at the national level. There may also be opportunities to work at the international level with the United Nations human rights mechanisms. Scope of work Through a combination of research and analysis, advocacy, and capacity building, the Fellow will work closely with the Africa Programme Manager, contributing to our work supporting human rights defenders in Africa, strengthening human rights systems, building and leading human rights coalitions, and responding to significant and systemic situations of concern.

Key tasks include:

● Supporting research on the situation of defenders in Africa as well as the legal frameworks that protect and infringe on their rights and advocacy for policy changes;

● Supporting the Africa Programme in preparing submissions to national, regional and international human rights mechanisms and courts;

● Assisting with research and drafting of submissions to regional and international human rights mechanisms, including the ACHPR’s State Periodic Review, the UN 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 ACHPR and UN meetings;

● Contributing to ISHR’s publications, including through drafting and editing online web articles, briefing papers, and other reports as needed.

Training and Opportunities

ISHR has a long-standing history of hosting Fellows. Our Fellows are fully included as part of the team, including in staff meetings, which provide a comprehensive understanding of the work of an international human rights NGO. Fellows also have opportunities to interact and network with human rights defenders, diplomats or other UN and NGO professionals.

Where appropriate or necessary for their work, ISHR staff will provide practical sessions and guidance, for example on monitoring UN mechanisms, drafting reports and advocacy documents, utilizing communications technologies, etc.

Fellowship modalities The Fellowship is expected to be a full-time (37.5 hours per week) position and will take place remotely / in Abidjan (if eligible) for a duration of a year.


up to 2000€ / month (depending on location, qualifications and experience). Requirements The successful fellow must:

● Be a recent Master or LL.M graduate in human rights law, international public law or equivalent. Recent graduates from other relevant graduate-level programs will be considered as well;

● Have working knowledge of international and regional human rights law;

● Demonstrate familiarity with the UN human rights system, the African Union and the ACHPR mechanisms, as well as issues faced by human rights defenders in Africa;

● Have strong drafting and research skills;

● 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 willing to participate in a variety of tasks, as required;

● Ability to effectively work remotely and independently;

● Have excellent written and oral communication skills in French and English, both languages being mandatory for this position;

● Knowledge of official ACHPR languages, especially Arabic and Portuguese is an advantage.

Equal opportunity

ISHR is firmly committed to having a diverse team and to the principle of equal employment opportunity. ISHR's policy is to practice fair and non-discriminatory recruitment and selection procedures and strive for diverse, international and multicultural personnel.

We welcome all kinds of diversity. Applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction including on grounds of race, colour, national origin, age, religion, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression or sex characteristics, pregnancy, genetic information, protected veteran status, socio-economic status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

We particularly welcome applications from systematically, historically and/or traditionally discriminated against under-represented groups, including women, persons of colour, LGBTIQ+ persons candidates, persons with disabilities and other groups.


Please submit your application by filling out this form and attaching a cover letter, a CV (no picture and maximum 2 pages), 2 relevant writing samples (no more than 5 pages each and including bibliographies).

ISHR will review these products only for the purpose of this recruitment and will not use them for any other purpose.

Applications will be considered until 11 June 2023 (Midnight, Geneva time).

Incomplete applications will not be considered. Only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

Privacy policy All applications will be handled in accordance with ISHR’s Privacy Policy.

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