Human Rights in Iran Unit

In 2012, the Masters Program in International Affairs at Brooklyn College CUNY established the Human Rights in Iran Unit (HRIU) to provide research support to United Nations’ Special Rapporteur (SR) on human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, an who investigates human rights conditions in the Iran in and to report findings to the UN.  This project includes the following efforts:

▪ Investigation of Iran’s human rights practices on rights specified in existing national laws and ratified international treaties. Monitoring rights in Iran through news reports, blogs, and other social media;

▪ Scholarly research on topics like Iran’s criminal justice system, gender equality, the treatment of minority groups, and the impacts of economic sanctions

▪ Coordination with non-governmental organizations and human rights defenders to monitor human rights developments in the country

▪ Conducting interviews with individuals with first-hand knowledge of rights abuses

▪ Contribution to and maintenance of the project website

For all report and other work of the SR, please visit the SR website,

Internships: To assist in this work, we seek interns to work approximately two days a week at our office at the Brooklyn College campus in Manhattan at 25 Broadway, for the course of one semester – spring, summer, and fall.  Interns may be current or recently graduate CUNY students or undergraduate students with a background in Iran.  While we do not expect any one applicant to have all of the following, we are looking for a team of interns who will combine the following experiences, skills, and specializations:

▪  Professional experience in human rights issues

▪  Academic specialization in international relations, particularly on intergovernmental organizations or in comparative politics, especially in the Middle East or Islamic societies

▪  Media experience (e.g. writing articles, organizing press conferences, drafting interview talking points)

▪  Training in research methods, including qualitative and quantitative methods

▪  Strong writing and analytical skills

▪  A critical perspective needed to understand and detect bias

▪  Ability to be diplomatic on sensitive issues

Internship Credit: Interns will receive 3.0 credit hours of class and/or a small stipend.


To apply for the Spring 2016 internship, please submit the following via email to by January 27, 2016:

1. Cover letter describing what skills, experience, and knowledge you could bring to the project, your interest in the project, as well as the time that you could commit to the project

2. Resume/CV

3. One letter of recommendation (as an e-mail message, word document, or PDF attachment).  The letter may be from a professor, employer, or supervisor.

For more information, please see or contact Prof.  Mark Ungar at

Background Information

• Special Rapporteur’s report to the Human Rights Council, March 2012:

• Special Rapporteur’s report to the General Assembly, September 2011: SR Iran 2011 first report

• Human Rights Clinic, February 24, 2015:  Human Rights Clinic Presentation

Other Events

Mini-Clinic with the Human Rights in Iran Unit:  21st Century Tricks of the Trade for Running a Human Rights Campaign

Please join us for an invaluable opportunity to learn about international human rights in practice.  Brooklyn College’s Human Rights in Iran Unit (HRIU), which provides support for the United Nations, will be providing invaluable insight for anyone interested in a career in international politics and human rights.  February 24, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.  City University of New York – 25 Broadway, New York, 7th Floor Auditorium

Almost everyone these days seems to be behind the idea of human rights.  But how can advocates move human rights issues to the front and center of policy debates?  How can advocates get states and international organizations to promote and enforce rights?

This three-hour mini-clinic–by human rights professionals with years of experience working for the United Nations, governments, and top human rights NGOs–is a practicum on how advocates can set their goals, frame their messages, and spread the word, especially through online campaigning using diaspora communities.  At the practicum, you will help craft and translate policy ideas for different target audiences, from journalists to lawmakers to the general public. And then you will walk through the process of structuring a human rights campaign.

By the end of the clinic, you will be able to:  Formulate a policy objective for any human rights issue; Locate stakeholders and points of influence; Choose your advocacy strategy and activities to further your objectives; Use media and social media to amplify your message.  This practicum will provide you with the practical aspects of human rights work that major human rights and international organizations value.  If you are studying international affairs or are planning a career that promotes human rights, this clinic is for you.

The event will be conducted by the Human Rights in Iran unit, which provides research support for the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran.  The unit is affiliated with the International Affairs Masters Program at the Department of Political Science at Brooklyn College.  The clinic is open to advanced undergraduates, MA, and PhD students or professionals at any NYC-metro areas institutions or organization.

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