Human Rights Internship : Current Students : The University of Western Australia

Current Students

Human Rights Internship

Further Information

Penny Carruthers

The Faculty of Law’s focus on human rights extends to the Legal internship program. Students can obtain work experience in organisations dedicated to promoting and protecting human rights in Australia and abroad.

A range of organisations offer students the opportunity to experience evidence-based advocacy, research, litigation and community education in action. Depending upon the organisation involved, internships may be over one semester or intensively.

Why do an internship in Human Rights?

D SayedUWA Law Alumni Diana Sayed, Campaigns coordinator - Human Rights Crisis and Tactical Response -Asia Pacific Amnesty International Australia

"If the reason why you first came to law school was because you felt a civic duty to your community, a sense of injustice in the world and wanted to fight for a greater cause beyond yourself than you certainly made the right choice. Somewhere along the lines that fire in your belly subsided as the feverish note-taking, competitive job market, increasing pressures to succeed in life post-law school and general stress of retaining all those case notes made you lose sight of the greater picture you are certainly not alone.
Having been one of those law students who was always interested in public interest law but wasn't quite sure of what pathway to take I completely understand the dilemma. The best advice I can offer is to actually get out of the law school bubble and actually do some hands on real life work experience, whether that be a summer internship volunteering stint in a refugee camp in Kenya or southern Turkey, or going out to Christmas island. Just do it, get out amongst it. Get close to the action, understand what the protection needs of people less fortunate are.
Doing an internship in human rights will give you an invaluable insight into how an non-profit advocacy organisation lobbies and agitates for change from not only the Australian government but other states as well. How we organise and get out supporters to sign petitions, write letters, turn out for events, protests, vigils for causes that resonate with the public. It will not only give you great exposure to the mechanics of how to impact human rights change but to grow a network of people who are interested in human rights abuses, fighting impunity and holding states accountable for their actions."

Amnesty International     HRLCnull


Student Experience

T BotsisThalia Botsis interned at the Human Rights Law Centre under the supervision of UWA alumnus, Daniel Webb. The Human Rights Law Centre is dedicated to promoting and protecting human rights in Australia and beyond. The HRLC does this through a strategic combination of evidence-based advocacy, research, litigation and education.The HRLC is an independent, not-for-profit, non-government organisation. It works in coalition with key partners, including community organisations, law firms and barristers, academics and experts, and international and domestic human rights organisations. Over the last six years, the HLRC has established constitutional protection of the right to vote, improved access to healthcare for prisoners, provided human rights training to over 15,000 people and held Australia to account for its human rights obligations on the international stage.

"I completed my internship at the Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC) in Melbourne. I learnt so much, had many diverse experiences and met countless interesting and inspiring people, from politicians to asylum seekers temporarily in Australia from Nauru.
I was fortunate to be involved in a wide variety of work at the HRLC. During my internship I visited detention centres, helped men expunge historical homosexual convictions and attended meetings with MPs discussing access zones around abortion clinics. I also sat in on phone calls with asylum seekers detained on Nauru, helped write briefing papers to the UN, answered e-mail and telephone enquiries, took minutes at board meetings, sat in on television interviews, researched the Commonwealth Government’s treatment of Gillian Triggs, overcrowding in remote Indigenous communities and conditions required in children’s jails, prepared file notes and so much more!
During my internship I felt more engaged with the law than I have during any other subject I have studied at law school. I loved being surrounded by passionate people, who were constantly advocating on behalf of others. It was truly a privilege to be part of the HRLC team and I could not recommend an internship at the HRLC more!"

Supervisor Profile

Daniel WebbDaniel Webb has worked with the HRLC since 2012 and leads much of its work on refugee rights and the rights of people in all forms of detention. Prior to joining the HRLC Daniel was a senior lawyer with Victoria Legal Aid, specialising in mental health and disability advocacy. For 12 months, Daniel was The People’s Lawyer in the Republic of Kiribati. His NGO experience includes internships with the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights in Phnom Penh and Transparency International in Port Moresby, PNG. Daniel has also worked as a Heritage Officer with Yamatji Land and Sea Council and Pilbara Native Title Service and is on the Policy Committee of Liberty Victoria. In 2010 he was awarded an LIV President’s Award for his outstanding work for human rights and social justice.