Internships supplement human rights education

Ghana, Malaysia, Cambodia, and India are just some of the countries University of Adelaide law students are visiting to gain practical experience during a human rights law internship.

In the lead up to Human Rights Day on Tuesday 10 December, the internship’s director and Adelaide Law School senior lecturer, Dr Laura Grenfell, says the program provides students with a deeper understanding of global human rights issues.

“The internships supplement students’ theoretical understanding of human rights law and gives them an opportunity to gain experience working in human rights organisations anywhere in the world,” Dr Grenfell says.

“Human Rights Day highlights the importance of protecting the rights of people all over the world. This internship program gives students firsthand experience of the range of human rights violations that can take place and allows them to engage with, and learn from, human rights advocates whose energy and commitment drives the protection and promotion of human rights.

“Students are able to put their understanding of human rights into action and are exposed to a broad range of human rights issues, which they may not come across solely working in Australia.”

The Human Rights Internship Program has been running for 10 years and almost 70 Adelaide Law School students have taken part, with another four expected to head off in early 2014.

Fifth-year law student Hannah Hannaford Gunn is travelling to India in February to undertake a six-month internship with the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative in New Delhi.

“The internship was recommended to me by some friends who said they not only got a lot of practical experience but also really enjoyed the work,” Ms Hannaford Gunn says.

“The skills I expect to gain from this internship will also translate well into the area of law I want to practise when I graduate and it’ll open my mind up to human rights issues experienced in another country.

“I want to work in industrial relations and this opportunity will give me experience in advocating for people and conducting field work, which are important skills in this area of law.

“India has also always been on my list of travel destinations and, while I know the work will be challenging and confronting, I’m looking forward to learning about the culture – I’ve already started learning Hindi.”

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