“To be a Good Human Rights Lawyer, You Need a Holistic View, which this Position Offers”

Johan Nordqvist and Jenny Nguyen

Five years ago, we launched the Gerald Nagler Human Rights Traineeship for lawyers at the beginning of their careers. Based at Civil Rights Defender’s headquarters in Stockholm, the traineeship provides professional experience for future work with human rights. Here you can read about Jenny Nguyen and Johan Nordqvist who work as Junior Legal Advisors within the framework of the trainee programme 2021.

Jenny Nguyen

What do you work with?

My responsibilities can be divided into three main areas: the rights of vulnerable EU citizens, asylum and discrimination, and other anti-discrimination activities. In addition, I have also written consultation responses in other areas such as surveillance and the authority of security guards, as well as working on a case that will result in a report to the Parliamentary Ombudsmen (JO). Therefore, my tasks vary a lot, from legal proceedings to advocacy meetings with those in power and ongoing analysis of the situation in terms of the rights I protect.

To be a good human rights lawyer, you need a holistic view, which the position of Junior Legal Adviser at Civil Rights Defenders offers. In addition to the legal work, you get an insight into how you can work to bring about change, both through collaboration with other departments at Civil Rights Defenders and with external actors, for example, other non-profit organisations and experts. In addition to legal positions, opportunities to work in the idea-driven sector in other positions opens up, for example as a project manager.

About Jenny Nguyen

Jenny Nguyen has a law degree from Lund University 2019, combined with an LLM in International Human Rights Law from the Raoul Wallenberg Institute. During her studies, Jenny Nguyen founded the Asylum Law Students in Malmö and Lund, and has been active in the asylum movement ever since. In addition, she has a Master in Comparative Law, Economics and Finance from the International University College in Turin from 2020. Jenny Nguyen was an intern at Civil Rights Defenders in the spring of 2017 and at the Asylum Rights Center in the summer of 2018.

Johan Nordqvist

What do you work with?

I have, among other things, worked with issues related to organised racism, terrorism, and violations of international law. This includes developing internal guidelines, producing consultation responses, trial monitoring, and writing reports.

I developed a lot during my time at Civil Rights Defenders. It made me a better lawyer and broadened my perspectives. Working within an international organisation that is active in several different fields and in a number of different countries means that we must be able to look beyond a single situation in, for example, Sweden and also take into account the overall development around a certain issue or within a certain area of law. The exchange with other departments within the organisation and collaboration with external actors has also provided many new insights into how advocacy work can be carried out. With this experience, I feel even better equipped for purely legal work, but also for work that includes project management and advocacy.

About Johan Nordqvist

Johan Nordqvist has a law degree from Stockholm University and has previously worked with issues around organised racism. In 2020, he was nominated for the Raoul Wallenberg Prize for his work in countering far-right crime using the law as a tool, and already during his studies, he successfully litigated in the Supreme Court on no less than two occasions. He is also active as a writer, researcher, and lecturer.

Read more and apply here. You can also read more about Civil Rights Defender’s previous trainees here:

Gerald Nagler Human Rights Traineeship

The programme, which has been made possible through the support of Civil Rights Defenders’ founder and honorary chair Gerald Nagler, is aimed at lawyers at the beginning of their careers. The applicants should have a documented interest in human rights work, as well as relevant work experience. The programme contributes to increasing the number of Sweden-based lawyers who engage in human rights work. In the long run, the programme contributes to a higher level of knowledge about human rights related issues among lawyers working in different sectors. The traineeship is a full-time position and runs for a year at a time. 

“To engage young and educated lawyers who want to devote themselves to human rights is important. It is our privilege to award scholarships through the Gerald and Monica Nagler Foundation in order to strengthen Civil Rights Defenders’ important human rights work,” said Gerald Nagler.

The recruitment is conducted in collaboration with the leadership consultancy company Pelago AB. The company offers their services pro bono in order to help find future human rights lawyers and give the applicants important experience for future recruitment processes.  

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