2018 Internship Spotlight: Matheus Souza at CEJIL

HRI Summer Internship Fellow Matheus Souza tells us about his internship at the
Center for Justice and International Law in Washington D.C.


Hello! My name is Matheus Souza, and I am a recent UConn graduate. At UConn, I majored in International Relations (with a focus in Latin America and Economic Development). Prior to the start of my graduate program at UConn this upcoming Fall, I completed an internship at the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) in Washington D.C. CEJIL is an organization that aims to protect the full enjoyment of human rights in Latin America through the effective use of the Inter-American System and international human rights law.

My placement was located at the office in Dupont Circle, about one mile away from the White House. However, the organization also carries its work from four different offices in distinct corners of the Western Hemisphere. They are placed in Argentina, Brazil and Costa Rica. CEJIl’s core work consists of litigations and representation under the Inter-American Court, as well as advocacy in a range of ongoing human rights issues in Latin America. Its mission is to protect individuals through international law, when access to justice and rule of law proves impossible to be achieved in their own country.


The CEJIL office a very diverse work environment, with staff members from Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia and Cuba. The main language used is Spanish, but I also get to work in Portuguese and English. Throughout this practical experience, I’ve been primarily working on the issue of statelessness (people without nationality). Some of my projects included a memo on the OAS resolution on the situation of Venezuela and the creation of informational booklets for a UNCHR conference in Geneva. Additionally, I’ve been filling out legal dockets of different cases litigated under the court, assisting with the elaboration of an extensive toolkit on statelessness in Dominican Republic, and compiling data from a range of government agencies, NGO’s and independent experts working on stateless persons in the U.S. Towards the end of my internship, the other interns and I will be presenting a recent case (Xucuru Vs. Brasil) to the rest of the office.


As part of my internship I had the opportunity to attend the 48th OAS General Assembly at the OAS headquarters. It truly was a remarkable experiencing, as I acquired a more in-depth perspective on the regional system’s role in promoting and enforcing human rights. If not working from my desk, I am observing events or attending meetings and webinars with other NGO’s, and representatives from the UNCHR.





The 2018 World Cup brought the office together while cheering for our respective countries and for Latin America as a whole. My fellow interns and I also try to eat at the parks around the office, in order to experience the D.C life to the fullest.

Thanks for taking your time to get to know more about my internship! I look forward to continue to represent the Human Rights Institute, as a Summer Fellow here in D.C. On the meantime, don’t forget to check the Red ANA (CEJIL’s statelessness program) website that I’ve also been working on. All in all, it has been a pleasure and I hope you enjoyed. Once a husky always a husky! #bleedblue


Learn more about our Summer Internship Fellows program on our website, http://humanrights.uconn.edu/internships/