Project Description

Human Rights Internships in Cape Town.

Some of the most prestigious human rights internships in South Africa are offered through our program. Since the end of Apartheid in 1994, the world has praised South Africa for its peaceful transition to democracy. South Africa has one of the most liberal constitutions in the world, one that enshrines a respect for human rights. Yet protecting these human rights cannot be left to individuals or the government alone; there must be independent institutions to ensure that human rights are protected in a country that, prior to 1994, was governed by one of the most repressive regimes of the 20th century. As a VACorps intern, you will gain direct access to this nation’s progressive human rights culture through your daily internship work.

We offer the following human rights internships in South Africa:

  • Human rights law
  • Refugee rights
  • Human rights NGOs
  • Environmental rights
  • HIV/AIDS advocacy
  • Housing rights
  • Gender advocacy
  • Human rights policy
  • Education rights

Why should you consider a human rights internship in Cape Town?

Take an active role in the process— investigate and deal with complaints of human rights violations from people living in Cape Town.

Learn more about South Africa’s progressive approach towards human rights issues— Many respected legal scholars cite the South African Constitution as one of the most progressive democratic constitutions in the world. This document is revered by citizens and politicians alike and guides the democratic policies of post-Apartheid South Africa.

Contribute to the advancement of human rights causes— Research bills for Parliament, which is located in Cape Town, and possibly assist with the writing of policy papers and submissions. Participate in community-based activism. Lobby the government through the use of local media outlets.

Work with human rights leaders in civil society— You will come away with a working knowledge of South Africa’s parliamentary system and current legislative debates. If you are interested in human rights legislation or seeking real-world experience in politics, you simply cannot pass up one of our many excellent internship opportunities.

From our VACorps Alumni profile with Josh Dilk (’09), a must-read for any serious human rights internship candidate:  “My human rights internship in Cape Town was a wonderful education in ground-level human rights work. I inspected a mental health facility, gathered information at a refugee center in De Doorns, and was able to draft reports that were sent to the South African Parliament.”

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Meet past participants:

Cara O’Donnell – Melbourne, Australia (2017)

Cara spent 9 weeks completing a Human Rights internship with the South African Human Rights Commission in Cape Town.  "The experience was both educational and personally rewarding, and one I won't soon forget. In addition [...]

Ashley Fleck – Atlanta, Georgia USA (2016)

Ashley participated in a human rights law internship with VACorps in 2016. "South Africa has been an amazing adventure. From paragliding over Cape Town to wine tasting in Stellenbosch to camping and cliff diving in [...]

Erin Jackson – Las Vegas, Nevada

To say that my time in Cape Town forever changed my life is an understatement. In all honesty, I was afraid once I landed. I never even been on a plane before, and here I [...]

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