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As part of our four year research project on the development rights of children who are living in unrecognised states (see www.childrensrightsresearch.com), we are looking for a research intern to help in the preparation and execution of research on children’s development rights in Palestine. It concerns a 5.5 month internship of 0.7fte. The candidate is expected to work with the main researcher (Dr. Marieke Hopman) in preparing the research trip, collecting data, and analysing this data. The candidate is invited to travel with the main researcher to the Occupied Palestinian territories, to collect data in the field. To this purpose, the candidate will receive a qualitative interview training.

The overall project

Although the SDGs are supposed to apply to all children equally, one group of children have remained largely invisible to the international community, namely: children living in unrecognized states. Since the goal of the UN is to provide access to justice for all, and to build effective and inclusive institutions at all levels, we propose to do research on the main question: (How) can development rights of children living in areas of ongoing political conflict be better realized?

From research in law and development, we know that for laws (including development rights) to have an impact on society, they must first be embedded in local norms. However, researchers have not yet found a way to systematically acquire and process the relation between children’s development rights and the relevant local norms. Furthermore, there is no research currently available on what it means to say that children living in areas of political conflict have development rights.

To remedy this gap, the envisaged research will apply a three-pronged approach to answer our main question by: 

  • Conceptualizing what development rights actually entail for children living in unrecognized states from an international law perspective
  • Developing a theoretical framework and methodology to study the different norms related to the protection/violation of children’s development rights in different socio-legal contexts
  • Formulating - through field research and literature study – a deeper understanding of legal and non-legal normative mechanisms that protect/violate development rights of children living in four unrecognized states: the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Somaliland, Palestine and Transnistria OR Abkhazia.

The case study

This case study will focus on the rights of children who are living in Palestine: the West Bank. In particular, we will focus on children who are living on the “front lines” of the conflict: those who live where the conflict is most active. For example, children living in Hebron. We will travel to these areas to learn from both Israeli and Palestinian children, what according to them are the main children’s rights issues. We are still developing the details of this case study and as an intern you will contribute to the preparing and setting up this case study.

What will you do?

As a research intern, first, you will support the main research (Dr. Hopman) in the preparation of the case study. This will include literature research and practical work, such as looking for flights, helping in preparing the ethics application, etc. Second, you will travel with Dr. Hopman to the West Bank. Depending on your preference and practical considerations, you may assist in the data collection in the Israeli and/or the Palestinian communities. To this purpose, you will receive a qualitative interview training. We will also train local researchers to continue the data collection after we leave. Upon return, you will assist in monitoring the local data collection and a (first) analysis of the research data.

In total you will spend 6 months on the project, of which the period in the West Bank (most likely 2-3 weeks) is fulltime. The field trip is planned to take place in June.

Requirements

We are looking for a candidate with the following qualifications:

  • Currently pursuing a BA or MA degree in social sciences, LAW, psychology, humanities or another related discipline at Maastricht University.
  • Great passion for contributing to the protection of children’s rights through research.
  • Excellent level of English.
  • Some basic knowledge of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is required.
  • Experience with qualitative research data collection and analysis is not necessary, but would be a plus.
  • Experience in doing research with children is not necessary, but would be a plus. General experience in working with children would also be a plus.
  • Mastery of local language(s) is not necessary, but would be a plus. 

Conditions of internship

The compensation will be either according to the UM regulations. These regulations have a standard pay of € 210/month for 0.7fte (28 hours per week). Costs for field research are covered by the project budget.

How to apply

To apply, please send your CV and a short motivation (max 2 A4) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The deadline for applications is 14 March 2022.


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