Internship Experience at Human Rights Defenders Alert, Delhi: Variety of Work, Legal Research and Drafting Work

NAME, COLLEGE AND YEAR OF STUDY

Ritika Goyal, NLU Ranchi, 3rd Year

NAME OF THE ORGANIZATION

Human Rights Defenders Alert (HRDA)

LOCATION

A-20, Ground Floor, Geetanjali Enclave, Shivalik Road, New Delhi – 110017

DURATION OF INTERNSHIP AND OFFICE TIMINGS

1st August 2019 – 28th August 2019 (10.00 AM to 5:30 PM)

APPLICATION PROCESS

The application procedure requires one to send their CV to hrda.internship[at]gmail.com.

ABOUT THE ORGANISATION

Human Rights Defenders Alert – India (HRDA) is a national network of human rights defenders (HRD) in the country, initiating actions for HRDs who are under threat or with security concerns. HRDA is a platform to extend solidarity and assistance to HRDs in trouble or at risk.

FIRST DAY FORMALITIES, THE IMPRESSION

On my first day, I was introduced to Mathew Sir, the National Coordinator, Anil Parasher Sir, Ex-Deputy Registrar of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and Shrutika Ma’am, Litigation Assistant of the team. Then I was made aware of the working of the organisation.

The kind of work that HRDA does is relatively unconventional. It is a national network of human rights defenders (HRD) in the country. The organisation files urgent appeals to NHRC and initiates actions for HRDs who are under threat or with security concerns.

After I was acquainted with the work structure, I was asked to go through cases of Human Rights Defenders and prepare summaries for the website. All the people working there were very humble and easy to talk. They were always available for our help.

MAIN TASKS

During the internship, I worked upon various issues such as the human rights violations in Jammu & Kashmir and abrogation of Article 370, violation of International obligations by Indian Government while implementing NRC in Assam, International obligation of India relating to arbitrary detention, freedom of speech & expression and freedom of assembly and Government’s duty to respect and recognise the work of Human Rights Defenders.

I was allotted regular research work that revolved around human rights and was supposed to refer to international laws and sources for this work, which made it all the more interesting. The regularity of the work given and consistency in the topics allocated made the tasks all the more interesting.

I thoroughly enjoyed researching on and learning about new topics every day. Besides the research work, I was also asked to assist in drafting legal arguments for the Human Rights Defenders case that was supposed to be filed in NHRC.

I also drafted and filed various Right to Information (RTI) applications to the Ministry of Home Affairs, National Human Rights Commission and Karnataka Government relating to custodial deaths, deaths due to police encounters etc. The work was consistent in nature and the quality of the work given was great.

GOOD THINGS

Mathew Sir, Parasher Sir and Shrutika Ma’am, all the three were very approachable. The office setting was very comfortable and one could learn a lot from their experience. During the lunchtime, everyone sat together and discussed different political issues.

It was also ensured that the interns got tea and coffee whenever needed. Many books were available at the office including NHRC Annual Reports, RTI books and Manuals on arbitrary arrest and detention. None of my previous internships has been this productive.

From beginning to end, there wasn’t even a single day when I sat idle or bored. I am more organised with my work and schedule than I ever was. As far as the work is concerned, not only have I improved drastically on my research skills, but I have also learnt how to manage my time better.

BAD THINGS

None that I can think of. My overall experience has been great.

STIPEND

No stipend

OTHER INFORMATION

One could opt for the food facility that was provided by the office at a minimal amount. Also, Malviya Nagar Metro Station was nearby, making commutation easier.

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