INHR is pleased to have the opportunity to offer select SIDS and LDC delegations in Geneva or in capital the support of an in-person or virtual student legal advisor who could work with your delegation for the 2022-23 academic year.
INHR’s student legal advisor program offers you many advantages, all of which are free for selected delegations. Trained by a former US diplomat who headed his country's team at the UN Human RIghts Council, the students study UN practice in the fall, using the UN Human Rights Council's September session and its November Universal Periodic Review proceedings as examples. They arrive in Geneva in January able to hit the ground running. and can provide delegations with help to:
- Draft interventions, including research on past statements and the Special Procedures reports that underly many of the HRC's interactive dialogues
- UPR recommendations, drawing from a range of legal and policy topics
- Treaty-body analysis for your own and other country's upcoming reviews
- Negotiate resolutions and participate in informals. Students know how to speak on behalf of your country, using diplomatic language and how to gain influence for your country by showing you to be an active participant, meaning others will take notice of your concerns; and
- Cover meetings and report on them, either virtually or in person.
We have students who represent more than a dozen national backgrounds, but they differ from local interns in that they are graduate students in their 6th or 7th year of education or else trained lawyers in their home country who have attended an LLM program in the United States. In a few cases, we also have students from European and developing countries with special legal and regional knowledge to ensure that we can meet the language requirements of all delegations.
Delegations wishing to have a student legal advisor in person must register with iNHR (contac@INHR.org) early in the fall and we strongly recommend that new HRC members and candidates agree to take on a student legal advisor to help prepare your Council membership. In-person student legal advisors work 40 hours per week in Geneva from January to late April. Other delegations may wish to consider a virtual student legal advisor, who provides remote support from the location of their university, of approximately 8-10 hours per week. In both cases, the student legal advisors start their remote work with the November UPR session and are available to support non-human rights topics as well, based on negotiation with the program and the demands of the interested delegations. In all cases, the students work directly for the Mission and have no reporting or loyalties to any other institution, keeping your information and strategies private and confidential. At the same time, they are part of a cohort of some 20 students working at different SIDS/LDC missions in Geneva, meaning they also have a diplomatic network which can help you advance your country's goals. Either way, they will hit the ground running, able to provide you with statements, interventions, and reports related to your priorities in much the same was as a junior diplomat can. For delegations not physically located in Geneva, the student legal advisors can even liaise with supervisors in New York or capital, so long as free, online communication systems are used to provide them with guidance and a sense of the delegation's priorities.
Eligibility and requirements: To participate in the program, delegations must commit to allowing the student to help your delegation for the September to May time period. The semester September-December will largely involve training of the students at their universities away from Geneva, but a monthly phone call with the Geneva delegation or capital is valuable. Beginning in January, students who will participate live in Geneva will arrive for work, whereas those who will do virtual work will require more frequent online meetings for guidance and assignments. Virtual interns may be able to visit Geneva during part of the March or June HRC session.s or the May UPR working group. Sponsoring delegations would be required to get the visiting students appropriate permits and credentials. If the student intern produces a statement or recommendation for cosponsorship or a resolution or other item that the delegation wishes to use but cannot be physically present in Geneva to present, INHR’s diplomats can present the material or sign for the participating delegation, provided appropriate authorization and credentialing is provided.