MA 2013/14

Catherine Baker, Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO)

I am currently Human Rights and Refugees Programme Assistant at the Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO), a year-long position based Geneva working with the UN human rights mechanisms. In this role, I have worked on a range of issues, including migrant rights, the rights of children of prisoners and the death penalty. In particular, I have engaged heavily with the process towards the development of a major new international agreement on migration, as well as more broadly with the Human Rights Council and Treaty Bodies, particularly the Committee on the Rights of the Child.

After completing the MA, I interned with the All-Party Parliamentary Human Rights Group (PHRG), advertised through the MA course. Here, I assisted a group of Parliamentarians to raise international human rights issues through the UK Parliament. Based in Westminster, this role was very diverse, including managing communications and assisting with advocacy on a wide range of campaigns.

The background in international human rights law gained during the MA has given me a solid understanding of the UN structures as well as legal analysis skills which have been invaluable in my current role at QUNO. More broadly the Masters gave me the theoretical knowledge needed for work in this field, as well as an insight into a wide range of human rights topics and country-specific issues.

Both the PHRG and QUNO positions are fixed term opportunities and I would recommend both very highly as ways to learn about international human rights issues and about using political institutions to effect change.

Jess Elliot, British Red Cross

At the start of October, I began work as Refugee Project Assistant for Refugee Services of the British Red Cross in Liverpool. My role involves the organisation of emergency provision for refugees and people seeking asylum, including the delivery of maternity packs and the development of a clothing scheme. Having been involved with the British Red Cross as a volunteer for several years I feel extremely privileged to have become a full-time member of this particular humanitarian organisation. The MA at ICS provided valuable grounding in refugee law through internal and external events which are extremely useful in understanding the challenges which individuals face in the UK in my current role. The MA has also provided opportunities for academic work beyond the scope of the course. I have co-authored an article with Damien Short on the human rights implications of hydraulic fracturing in the UK for the International Journal of Human Rights, and have plans for future articles on similar topics.