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 five reports from students who participated in the program in the summer of 2004.

Stephanie Pearce at HURINET, Uganda 
IHRP Intern Stephanie Pearce at HURINET, Uganda

Stephanie Pearce


"I spent ten weeks from June to mid-August 2004 working for HURINET, a small human rights organization in Uganda. ... During my time at HURINET and in Uganda I learned invaluable lessons about the practicalities of human rights work in a developing country, the interaction between international and domestic human rights law, and the role of a foreign lawyer - or law intern - in effecting change.  This experience was heart breaking, mind bending and definitely life changing."


Matthew Pierce

Alliance for Southern African Progress (ASAP),  New York/Zimbabwe

"ASAP's biggest project of the summer was the Zimbabwe Freedom Charter project. In conjunction with several leading NGOs on the ground in Zimbabwe, ASAP will work to solicit information from the Zimbabwean populace as to what they would like to see in a free and well-governed Zimbabwe of the future. ... I spent the bulk of the summer working on the formulation of this project, which culminated with my visit to Zimbabwe in late July. My purpose there was to meet with representatives of Zimbabwean NGOs to present the Freedom Charter proposal and seek support for the project."


Matthew Pierce
IHRP intern Matthew Pierce, in Southern Africa working for ASAP
 Saba Zarghami with Ugandan child
IHRP intern Saba Zarghami, with Ugandan child

Saba Zarghami

Associates for Change/Human Rights Commission, Uganda

"This summer I was posted as an intern in the Legal and Tribunal Division of the Uganda Human Rights Commission in Kampala, Uganda. Within this division, I was assigned to do research and write legal opinions on cases involving allegations of torture in police custody, as well as some land expropriation and maintenance cases. ... I was very grateful for the opportunity which I was afforded this summer to visit Uganda and work in such a dynamic organization. After my first year of law school, it was extremely rewarding to be able to travel half-way around the world and see how the practical application of my education could make such a positive impact on the lives of individuals with nowhere else to turn."


Nyranne Martin

World Health Organization (WHO), Geneva

"Professor Rebecca Cook kindly put me in contact with a former LL.M. student of hers, Eszter Kismodi.  Eszter is a Human Rights Adviser in the Department of Reproductive Health and Research, in the Family and Community Health Cluster of the WHO.  Eszter was fabulously helpful and agreed to take me on as an intern. ... Under Eszter's supervision, I participated in the preparation of a global and regional information kit on human rights and sexual and reproductive health.  The kit was designed for parliamentarians and health care providers, not lawyers.  So, a great deal of the work consisted of taking international law provisions and removing the legal jargon.  It also required gathering data and case studies that showed how human rights could be implemented in different contexts." 


 Naryanne Martin at WHO, Geneva
IHRP intern Naryanne Martin at the World Health Organization, Geneva
Closed Circuit Television at a sectarian interface area, Northern Ireland
Closed Circuit Television at a sectarian interface area, Northern Ireland
- Photo by IHRP intern Lisa Kelly

Lisa Kelly

The Pat Finucane Centre, Northern Ireland

"During my internship, a panel of independent human rights experts from South Africa, Scotland, and the United States carried out a two-week phase of interviews as part of an ongoing investigation at the invitation of the PFC into possible collusion between security forces and paramilitary groups in a particular set of murders during the 1970s.  I, along with another intern, had the opportunity to attend and transcribe the majority of these interviews, which included testimonies by victims' relatives, witnesses, intelligence officers, community outreach workers, and members of the police.  Not only did I learn a lot through observing and interacting with the panel, it was also a very moving experience to hear first-hand accounts from witnesses and relatives of victims, many of whom rarely spoke about these traumas over the past three decades."


See more intern reports on the Past Interns page.