Internship Policy of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
The African human rights system introduces to the international human rights discourse new concepts and challenges to students, academics, human rights activists and international lawyers. It is not surprising, therefore, that several decades after the adoption of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Charter) and its entry into force, in addition to the establishment of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission), there is still a lot more to be written about the African human rights system. It remains one of the most comprehensive in terms of the rights protected.
For the past decade, the African human rights system has attracted interest from across all categories of persons intersected in human rights – students, professors, activists, advocates etc. Representatives from the Commission and scholars have made numerous presentations at international and regional forums and distributed relevant documents to institutions of learning on the African human rights regime. Yet, as the African Commission continues to grow and its activities are appreciated, so also does interest in the Commission increase.
A growing number of young academics have also expressed interest to visit the Secretariat and spend some time to work at the Secretariat to better appreciate the system. With the number of applications growing every year, the Secretariat considered it important to develop certain guidelines that would guide relationships between such visitors and the Commission. Although not all those who visit the Commission are regarded as interns, this document is designed to regulate the relationship between the Commission and persons wishing to participate in the Commission’s internship program.
Internship Policy Statement
Internships are educational programs that allow interns to gain practical work experience and develop skills in the areas of their career interests under the guidance of experts or those working in the field. Internships are appropriate for graduate students or persons who have had prior experience working in fields that relate directly to the Commission’s interests.Internships must be of benefit to both the intern and the Commission. The intern benefits from the opportunity to learn about the system, conduct research through guidance from a staff member allocated by the Secretariat, while the Commission benefits from the outcome of the intern’s research and contribution to other activities.
While the Commission welcomes interns from all over the world particularly with a view for diverse inputs in its work, preference is accorded to African interns who are researching or working on human rights in general and the African human rights system in particular.
The aim of the internship programme is to contribute to the training of human rights workers who would help promote human rights on the continent.
Applicants must have an educational or professional background suitable to the work of the Commission. No particular study or degree is required, but applicants must have at least a first degree from a recognised higher institution. Knowledge of human rights, academic research and/or practical experience in human rights, as well as experience in project planning and management, Internet Technology and administration are an advantage.
Interns must be fluent in at least one of the working languages of the African Union.
Application and recruitment procedure
Interns should apply to the Secretary of the Commission by submitting the following documents:
- a motivation letter stating the grounds for the application, and indicating the field (s) of interest of the applicant;
- a Curriculum Vitae;
- copies of University Degree(s) or Diploma(s) obtained;
- two recommendation letters; and
- proof of financial support during the internship.
Applications which do NOT contain all the requisite documents specified above will not be considered.
All inquiries on internships should be addressed to:
The Secretary of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights,
31 Bijilo Annex Layout, Kombo North District,
P.O. Box 673, Banjul,
Tel: 220 4410 505 – 6; Fax: 220 4410504
Due to the large number of applicants, only selected candidates will be contacted.
The following would also apply in the selection of interns:
- Priority will be given to applicants whose qualifications (area of interest) will be most useful to the Commission at the time they apply;
- Priority will be given to citizens of Member States of the African Union and State Parties to the African Charter;
- The availability of resources at the Commission to accommodate the interns. This includes computers, office space and staff members to provide supervision;
- The need for the intern at that material moment. This would be determined by the workload of the Commission, the issues the intern proposes to work on, and the priority of the Commission at the time.
Nature of Work
Interns may assist, according to their background and interests, in any aspect of the work of the Commission, i.e. in its research and training projects, documentation and publication as well as in technical and administrative tasks. The content and/or nature of the work to be done during the internship will be mutually agreed upon in advance.
The African Commission does not remunerate interns.
The supervisor will be one of the officers of the Commission working in the department in which the intern has been assigned. In relation to the task assigned to the intern, the latter will be answerable to his/her immediate supervisor. The intern will also be assigned other duties by the Secretary.
Duties of the Secretariat
The Secretariat shall ensure that interns:
- are provided with proper orientation on the work of the Commission;
- are placed in departments where their work will be supervised by professionals in their particular area of work;
- are provided with the material, information and services necessary for the effective discharge of the internship;
- are regularly assessed and provided with feedback in order to improve their knowledge; and
- Sign an oath undertaking to keep any sensitive and confidential information that comes to their attention by virtue of their duties.
Duties of interns
Interns have the duty to:
- Treat the internship as a professional exercise. They shall observe all applicable rules, regulations, instructions, procedures and directives of the Commission, refrain from any conduct that would adversely reflect on the Commission and abstain from engaging in any activity incompatible with the aims, objectives and interest of the Commission;
- Respect the confidentiality agreement signed with the Secretariat, and in this regard, shall not divulge to anyone any information of a confidential nature they might come across;
- Submit the completed evaluation form and final report to the supervisor at the end of the internship; The report should include among other things, the difficulties encountered during the internship and proposals on how to improve the situation; and
- Return to the supervisor, all the Commission’s documents at their disposal.
The Internship period should last for at least six (6) months, and a maximum of one year. In exceptional cases, the Secretary can decide to offer internships for less than six months or extend the period of an internship.
Interns are expected to work regular office hours, being 8:30 am – 5:30 p.m.
Meetings and other activities
Interns are not considered as regular staff members of the African Commission. The Secretary of the African Commission shall determine the type of meetings and activities they may be invited to participate in, as well as the conditions under which they may attend such meetings or undertake any activity.
Holidays and leave
The official holidays of the Secretariat apply to interns as they do to regular staff members of the Secretariat.
Interns are eligible to two days leave per month which must be taken with the period of the internship. However, interns, except in exceptional cases, shall not be allowed to take leave on the last month of their internship.
Interns must inform their supervisors should illness or other unforeseen circumstances prevent them from reporting for work or completing their internship.
Interns are not officials or staff members of the Secretariat and therefore cannot represent the Commission in any official capacity.
There is no deadline for applying, but the Secretariat encourages prospective interns to apply at least three months before their scheduled date to begin the internship.
Visa and travel arrangements
The Secretariat advises interns to make all necessary arrangements from their home countries before travelling to The Gambia. This includes visa and travel arrangements, insurance, accommodation, etc. It is also advisable that interns come with laptop computers, if possible.
The Secretariat will also provide successful applicants with relevant information about living in The Gambia. The Secretariat is available to provide information and assistance in this regard, as required.
Termination of internship
Either party can terminate the internship prior to its expiry by giving seven (7) days written notice. This notwithstanding, the Secretariat reserves the right to terminate the internship at any time if it deems the intern provided false information to the Secretariat, or the intern has brought the Commission into disrepute or undertook any other activity that the Secretariat deems incompatible with the mandate of the Commission.
Letter of Recommendation
Upon the successful completion of the internship, a Letter of Recommendation will be issued to the intern by the Secretary of the Commission.