Every summer, 20-30 students at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law have the opportunity to spend all or part of their summer working on international human rights legal issues at organizations around the world through the International Human Rights Program's summer internship program. Below are six reports from students who participated in the program in the summer of 2003.

International Human Rights Intern Max Morgan at the International Council of Aids Service Organizations and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva, Switzerland.

Max Morgan

International Council of AIDS Service Organizations (ICASO), Toronto, and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Geneva, Switzerland

"My experiences were both enriching and rewarding. I felt that I was able to significantly contribute to the work of both organizations while also learning a great deal about international human rights work and advocacy, especially with respect to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Splitting the summer between these two organizations had the added benefit of exposing me to both the civil society as well as the international organizational responses to international human rights concerns."


Mora Johnson

Office of the Prosecutor, Special Court, Sierra Leone

"The work at OTP was phenomenally interesting:  I worked mostly at the Appellate section, where we researched really fascinating public international law issues and drafted Prosecution motions and responses, and I also did a bit of work for the Trial teams ... Crafting legal arguments in Prosecutor v. Charles Taylor, arguing that this man who fomented conflicts in many countries and who was responsible for an egregious amount of human suffering, should not be able to invoke Head of State Immunity before an international tribunal, represents a high point in my life. It certainly exceeds any reasonable expectations of summer job experiences."


International Human Rights Intern Mora Johnson (centre) at the Office of the Prosecutor, Special Court for Sierra Leone.

International Human Rights Intern Margaret Flynn (centre) at the Stefansson Arctic Institute in Akureyri, Iceland.

Margaret Flynn

Stefansson Arctic Institute, Akureyri, Iceland

"My experience as part of the International Human Rights Program was unparalleled.  I had the opportunity to meet a number of leaders in the field of Arctic human rights and aboriginal law.  I was able to build upon my knowledge of the Arctic through these encounters, and also to expand that knowledge through various challenging conversations with Icelandic, Canadian, Danish, Norwegian, Greenlandic, Finnish, Russian, German, American and British activists and academics.   On a daily basis, I was able to work at a truly international institution, with a similarly international staff.  In addition, I was able to learn more about Icelandic society, politics, and law -- an experience which, in itself, was incredibly rewarding."


Robin Reinertson

Women's Centre for Change (WCC), Penang, Malaysia

"The Women's Centre for Change is a very small organization with only a few paid staff and no administrative support; dedicated volunteers are its life-blood. While at times the lack of resources was challenging, it also meant that my presence made a real impact and was sincerely appreciated by the centre."


International Human Rights intern Robin Reinertson (left) on an excursion at the Women's Centre for Change in Penang, Malaysia.

International Human Rights interns Max Morgan and Rachelle Dickinson at the UN offices in Geneva.

Rachelle Dickinson

International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), Geneva, Switzerland

"As an intern for ISHR, I joined the team responsible for producing the Human Rights Monitor, the organization's on-line and print publication, designed to provide human rights defenders with analysis of the principal human rights meetings of the United Nations (in both Geneva and New York), as well as the voting records of the meetings. ... Having an interest in the work of international non-governmental human rights organizations, the United Nations system, international relations, and of course international human rights law, I am glad to have had the opportunity to experience the Geneva environment first-hand."


Lucas Lung

Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, Cairo, Egypt

"Dr. Barbara Harrell-Bond, director of the Forced Migration and Refugee Studies Department at the American University in Cairo, asked me to write a report on the insecurities of the Burundian refugee community in Egypt for submission to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. The community was comprised of 57 principal claimants, and around a dozen or so dependents. The objective of the report was to demonstrate that this group of Burundians could neither return home nor remain in Egypt, and should therefore receive immediate recognition under the UNHCR mandate, and be referred for resettlement without delay."


Three girls in window, Shubra, Cairo - photo by International Human Rights Intern Lucas Lung

See more intern reports on the Past Interns page.