Internship at the International Partnership for Human Rights

Julija Ravaitytė

My internship at the International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR) took me through the summer of 2017 with a number of new discoveries and opened up professional opportunities for the future. I started interning at the IPHR in May, perhaps one of the busiest months for organizations, enterprises and representations working in the field of human rights, democracy promotion and international advocacy. IPHR is a Brussels-based NGO, which cooperates with human rights defenders, civil society organizations, lawyers and journalists working in the post-Soviet region. Thus as a graduate of political science and Eastern European and Russian studies, I had a unique opportunity to directly apply knowledge and skills, gained during six years of studies.

Over the five months of interning at IPHR, I had a chance to work with a wide range of issues. Some of the most interesting tasks included helping arrange a fact-finding mission in Georgia and later contributing to editing its findings. The mission was aimed at investigating the situation of Azerbaijani activists living in exile in Georgia and resulted in a report “Repression beyond borders”, which, I believe, is well worth finding on IPHR’s website and reading. In addition to that I had a chance to contribute to fundraising efforts, together with my colleagues drafting proposals to one of the biggest international donor and developing new ideas with our partner organizations.

But the best experience of my internship was a nearly week-long trip to Warsaw, where I participated at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting. A two-week-long event gathers representatives of all OSCE states together with dozens if not hundreds of human rights defenders, civil society activists and organizations, which work together at plenary sessions and engage in discussions during numerous side-events. Participation at this event opened the door to meeting different and interesting people from all over OSCE region concerned about human rights situation and often willing to work together to improve it.

In the end, my internship at the IPHR gave me a wide and diverse insight into the work and struggle of human rights defenders in the post-Soviet region as well as an opportunity to continue my career in the field.

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