Vito Todeschini (E.MA graduate 2011/2012)
E.MA Intern with ICJ, Geneva
After graduation in September 2012, I (sadly) thought my experience with E.MA was over. Fortunately, I was wrong. In mid November, an unexpected email announced that I got the E.MA internship with the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) in Geneva, one of the most important legal organisations in the field of human rights.
From the very first day, I realised that a high-level NGO can be a more-than-friendly and welcoming environment: I found outstanding human rights professionals that treat interns as peers involving them in their daily work. Specifically, my task was to carry out research on human rights and humanitarian law issues and to draft analyses for internal use or for position papers. As a first work experience in this field, the E.MA internship at the ICJ gave me a privileged viewpoint to understand what means working in an international NGO.
Another task was to follow the March session of the Human Rights Council. There, I discovered a new world. Firstly, I saw how the negotiations on a resolution work and how States debate to include or exclude single terms from the draft text, according to their view of - and commitment to - human rights. Secondly, and most importantly, I had the chance to attend several side-events on a great variety of topics organised by national delegations and NGOs. On top of that, for the first time ever I met people who struggle daily to defend their rights, people that had been jailed and tortured, under constant threat for having demanded what instead should be granted.
These parallel windows on human rights, diplomatic negotiations and human rights defenders, gave me unforeseen grounds of reflection on the interaction between international law and the needs and rights of people. Moreover, being at the heart of the UN human rights mechanisms made me understand what actually means standing at the centre of events while they are happening.
Thanks to E.MA - and just like in E.MA - both experiences at the ICJ and the Human Rights Council have undoubtedly been formative in both a professional and human way. I learnt a lot from the work I’ve done as much as from the people I met.