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Internship: detention unit

14-12-2012 Job Opportunity

Location: Headquarters

The Detention Unit is part of the Protection Division in the Operations Department of the International Committee of the Red Cross. The Unit aims to provide support to staff members working in the field and at Headquarters on behalf of people deprived of their liberty. (Issues covered by the Unit's work include:  ICRC detention methodology, detention-related law and policy, detention management, judicial guarantees, torture and ill treatment, treatment of migrants, women and children, health, reform and change processes, etc.)

The Detention Unit is offering a one-year paid internship. The candidate will work in a team on a range of detention-related themes. There are seven team members, including two interns with different profiles (research and publications; information management.)

Responsibilities and Tasks:

1.   Detention manual and external promotional brochure

A substantial part of the intern’s time will be spent providing support for creation and publication of a paper-based, English language manual for ICRC delegates, adapting material from a newly updated Detention database. She or he will also assist in publishing an English language brochure describing for an external public the current nature of ICRC's work for the benefit of detainees.

2. Creating new sections of a Detention database

The intern will provide support to the Unit in researching new detention-related topics and creating guidance material for ICRC delegates working on behalf of detainees (the Detention part of the Protection Toolbox). All members of the Unit are involved in this task, and the intern will respond to their requests for support in:

  • Researching specific topics and related legal framework
  • Documenting examples of ICRC practice.

3. Mapping and monitoring ICRC detention actions

The intern will work with colleagues to map significant detention actions from planning to execution, to facilitate identification of lessons learnt in implementing ICRC’s approach to detention.

4. Ensuring updating of a database of ICRC/detaining authority visiting agreements

  • monitoring this resource, prompting colleagues to update it on a regular basis

5. Additional research tasks

As and when requested, depending on workload and priorities agreed with the Detention Unit Head, the intern will research country and other contexts, and any issues relevant for ICRC work on detention.

Qualifications, skills and experience:


  • University degree, preferably in social / political sciences
  • Strong writing and editing skills in English, reading knowledge of French
  • Demonstrated ability to research, organise, and synthesise information, including of a practical/operational and legal nature (a legal background is not essential)
  • Good communication skills
  • Experience of working (paid or voluntary) on detention and protection issues (particularly police, prison, migration)
  • Interest in working in future on protection issues
  • Ability to work well in a team
  • Initiative


  • Experience of  Lotus Notes, Docshare and/or other database use/editing
  • Experience of working on publications
  • Reading knowledge of at least one of the following: Spanish, Russian, Arabic
  • Knowledge of Africa, Americas, Middle East protection contexts

What we offer:

  • The experience of working in a small, specialist team in an international, humanitarian environment
  • Increased knowledge of humanitarian work for the benefit of people deprived of liberty
  • Basic salary and benefits

The post is office, not field based and does not involve travel. Although motivation to build on the experience gained from this post by working on protection issues in future is an asset, the traineeship is not an automatic route to employment as an ICRC field delegate.

Duration: 1 year

Starting date: 6 May 2013

Interested persons fulfilling the above criteria should send a letter of motivation and full CV/resume to Mary Murphy (mmurphy@icrc.org) by 13 January 2013. Please include the contact details of at least two referees. Only short-listed candidates will be notified (by 21 January 2013) and interviewed.