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How working with UNRWA Jordan is preparing me for a career in International Human Rights Law

By Leena Ghadban

Disclaimer: The views are those of the author's alone and do not represent the views of UNA-Canada.

Image 1: JPC Leena Ghadban

My name is Leena Ghadban, and I'm currently in my fourth year at the University of Ottawa, obtaining my degree in International Development and Globalization. I was given the opportunity to work for United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Jordan as Junior Professional Consultant (JPC) in Programme support with Palestine Refugees. I work under the Neutrality and Protection Unit with Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and Children Protection (CP) Officers. The position I hold with Neutrality and Protection Unit intern and programme support.

Image 2: Leena's remote workplace

I am working from home as this work term is a remote placement with UNRWA Jordan; therefore, I am currently working in my home office in Ottawa, Canada. Sometimes you will catch me at my local Starbucks working away for a change of scenery.

Image 3: UNiTE! Activism to End Violence against Women initiative (UNiTE) 2022 Campaign

UNiTE by 2030 to End Violence against Women initiative (UNiTE)

I plan to pursue a career in International Human Rights Law one day to aid and support those whom war crimes and crimes against humanity have wronged. A project that has prepared me for my future in human rights law is the 16 days of Activism. The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Against Women and Girls is an international civil society-led campaign each year. It commences on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and ends on 10 December, Human Rights Day, indicating that violence against women is the most pervasive breach of human rights worldwide.

Under the leadership of the UN Secretary-General, the UNiTE by 2030 to End Violence against Women initiative (UNiTE), calls for global action to increase awareness, galvanize advocacy efforts and share knowledge and innovations to end Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) once and for all. The importance of the 16 days of activism for Palestinian Refugees includes bringing awareness and safeguarding Palestinian refugees’ rights from gender-based violence (GBV).

Image 4: Goals of the UNitE! 16 days of Activism

When working on the 16 days of activism, I oversaw the creation of the concept notes as well as the activities that were going to take place. These activities included generational dialogue, logo campaigns, artisan professions, awareness sessions, and more. Working on the 16 days of activism allowed me to enhance my knowledge of a large human rights issue and have a greater appreciation for campaigns that promote human rights like the 16 days of activism.

How my JPC experience is preparing me for my future in Human Rights Law

I have to say that teamwork and collaboration are key success factors in achieving results here at UNRWA Jordan. The culture at UNRWA Jordan is amazing, and the dedication of all members of the team is very inspiring. Helping to bring awareness to the ongoing human rights, including women’s rights, is truly a privilege. I hope it inspires others to ask themselves how they can support such an urgent and critical issue facing us around the world and especially for Palestine Refugees. The ability to play a small role in empowering women and girls to overcome their trauma and the social stigma that comes with it is not only the right thing to do; it is the only thing to do. UNRWA’s commitment to working to end violence against women and girls and the work that I have been able to contribute to this worthy cause only confirms my commitment and intention to continue this work. UNRWA provides an essential service, and I am proud to be part of this organization and work towards providing direct relief and work programmes to Palestine refugees.

This work term will well prepare me for my future schooling and career as it is related to the field of work I aim to pursue. I have gained experience in policy and program development that has helped enhance my research, analytical, leadership, and critical thinking skills during my time with UNRWA Jordan. I am very honoured to have the opportunity to work with UNA- Canada and their partner UNRWA Jordan and to hopefully make meaningful connections and impacts.

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