Camilla Barker is one of the successful (8) applicants to receive an award and writes of her internship experience with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, New York, from June 2, 2015 to August 28, 2015.
At the end of May 2015, I was pleased to accept the offer of a three month United Nations Headquarters Internship in the Policy Advice and Planning Section, Policy Development and Studies Branch, at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in New York. This placement was generously supported by the Oxford Global Justice Internship Programme.
During the internship, I was assigned a number and variety of tasks. Some of the more substantial tasks included: collecting conflict situation information for a joint OCHA/PAX mission on the use of explosive weapons in Ukraine; assisting in the preparation of an exhibition that was shown at the ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment in Geneva in June 2015; researching different types of humanitarian arrangements and the proposals for their establishment between the years 1995-2015; drafting a briefing note to Under-Secretary-General Stephen O’Brien on types of protected areas and no fly zones during armed conflict and considerations for their implementation, especially in respect of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria; assisting in the development of a longer policy paper on protected areas during armed conflict and considerations for their implementation; researching the United Nation’s legal relationship with the International Criminal Court and preparing advice regarding witness cooperation requests; attending several meetings and workshops on counter-terrorism operations and the UN sanctions regime; assisting in the preparation of a UN Security Council Informal Expert Group Meeting on Protection of Civilians in advance of the renewal of the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) mandate in July 2015; researching international legal provisions relevant to international migration; and reviewing OCHA’s submissions to the International Law Commission’s consultative process on the Draft Articles for the Protection of Persons in the Event of Disasters. I also prepared numerous Notes for File, Notes to SMT, and drafted correspondence for, inter alia, USG Stephen O’Brien.
The internship gave me an unparalleled opportunity to network with practitioners and policy-makers in my field and expanded my appreciation of the global humanitarian system. Crucially, the internship also gave me a better understanding of the relationship between international law – particularly international humanitarian law – and the day-to-day of humanitarian operations, which has been of immeasurable benefit to my doctoral research on humanitarian access. I am very grateful for the support of UN OCHA, the Global Justice Internship Programme, and my supervisor, Professor Catherine Redgwell.