Gain valuable experience into human rights law and social advocacy in Cape Town, where unique social issues and discrimination affect a range of communities. Interns in human rights law observe and assist South African lawyers and advocates in their day-to-day activities, including researching the law, providing clerical and case management support, and meeting clients.
This is an in-country internship, with accommodation provided. Click here to explore remote Law & Human Rights internships, which you can do from home.
The apartheid regime that ended in the 1990s created deep racial divisions within South Africa. The post-apartheid government is still working hard to protect and uphold universal human rights. Social issues such as xenophobia, racism, gender inequality, prejudice, and poverty are still highly prevalent.
On this Human Rights Law internship, you’ll experience how these issues are handled by the South Africa legal system and gain rare insights into how the legal system manages complaints and disputes.
Human Rights interns are placed with local lawyers in private or public practices, non-profit advocacy groups, refugee centers or government institutions. You’ll be interning alongside experienced local law professionals to understand how they go about their role. Within this context, interns have scope to assist with research, case preparation, client meetings, and the provision of legal advice.
As an intern, you’ll gain a realistic understanding of life as a human rights lawyer and advocate, and build your understanding of the complex applications of human rights law. While there can be days that are busy and challenging, there may also be days where the pace is a little slower and you’ll be able to appreciate the administrative tasks that underpin a successful legal practice. In all cases, interns are expected to maintain high standards and collaborate closely with the leadership team of your placement organization.
For this internship, you will need to bring your own laptop and expect to collaborate directly with your project leader in order to coordinate tasks and planning, since priorities may change from one week to the next. This collaborative approach helps you to become more integrated within the placement. However, you should always expect an introductory period initially, during which you’ll gain more of an overview of the organization’s operations and areas of focus. An open mind and commitment to learning is essential!
Outside of your internship, the cultural and historical attractions you can explore will also enrich your understanding of human rights issues. During your weekends, you may visit the District Six Museum, Robben Island, and the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa. These excellent sites can provide more understanding of South Africa’s history, to deepen the immersive and educational experience of your internship. There are also beautiful scenic attractions that you won’t want to miss - whether hiking Table Mountain, Signal Hill or Lion’s Head for panoramic views of the city, relaxing on the beaches, or meandering along the Garden Route to visit wineries, you’ll find that there is never a dull moment. If you want to plann a safari while you’re in South Africa, let us know! Our team in Cape Town will help you arrange an ethical, responsible and unforgettable tour.
This internship is conducted in English.
Human Rights Law interns learn from a qualified and experienced supervisor, and can be involved in:
- Researching legal precedents and statutes
- Helping to prepare for cases
- Meeting clients
- Managing caseloads
- Providing clerical support
Professional development opportunities:
- Gain understanding of human rights law in South Africa
- Learn from an experienced local legal professional
- Develop your understanding of legal processes
- Build research skills and experience applying the law to individual situations
- Understand the daily requirements of legal professionals
- Gain practical skills and boost your employability, with guidance from Intern Abroad HQ’s Experiential Learning Curriculum to support your learning and cultural intelligence.
- Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm
- Contribute to real life human rights legal issues and learn from experienced South African professionals
- Gain practical understanding of life as a human rights lawyer
- Enjoy spare time exploring the unique and eclectic city of Cape Town, and wider South Africa
Types of host organizations:
- Law practices
- Advocacy non-profits
- Government institutions
- Refugee centers
Keen to get started?
Taking the first step is easy! It is free to apply and takes just 5 minutes.Submit an application
It’s free to apply for this internship. Once we have reviewed your suitability and accepted you onto this program, you’ll need to pay a deposit of US$449 to confirm your place. The remaining balance of your Program Fee (less your initial US$449 deposit payment) will be due no less than 60 days before your internship start date.
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