On 20th February 2017, the UN day for Social Justice, young people across the world will come together to say NO to the exploitative and exclusionary practice of unpaid internships. Coordinated by the Global Intern Coalition, actions will take place in a range of cities, including Geneva, New York, and Vienna. We will demand that employers and leaders ensure quality internship opportunities that are accessible to all – regardless of their socioeconomic background.
Check out the global Facebook Event for details and share with your intern and youth networks!
Can’t make it to Geneva, New York, or Vienna on February 20th? Show your support and solidarity by signing the below statement and share your support with Thunderclap on your Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.
UN Staff Council requested a report on how stipends could be introduced during the Fifth Committee. Human Resources items of the agenda were postponed to another resumed session to be held during the Fall of 2016
NEW YORK and GENEVA — April is here and the Fair Internship Initiative is closing the March campaign, which succeeded in raising awareness to the issue of unpaid internships at the United Nations System. The campaign included demonstrations in New York and Geneva and social media activities that reached more than 850,000 people. Several publications, such as Swiss “20 Minutes”, “Le Courrier” and “Swissinfo”, as well as the and Brazilian “Huffington Post Brasil” have reported about the campaign (read more).
Protest in front of the Palais des Nations in Geneva
The aim of the campaign was to get the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly, held in March in New York, to discuss the issue of unpaid internships — which could be addressed during a broader Human Resources agenda. However, Human Resources questions were postponed to yet another resumed session of the Fifth Committee to be held during the fall of 2016. According to Member States representatives of the Fifth Committee, most of the reports under consideration for this item are over a year old and out of date.
The latest report produced by the Secretariat with data on internships has been published in 2014 regarding the biennium of 2012-2013. This report has a broader focus on the category of gratis personnel, retired staff and consultants and individual contractors (read more).
The issue of unpaid internships at the UN has not been ignored, however. During an opening session of the Fifth Committee, the UN Staff Council representative Mr Ian Richards invited the the Secretariat to produce a report with non-binding solutions for Member States to consider how a stipend for interns could be introduced, based on the practice of specialized agencies like the International Labour Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Programme.
The Fair Internship Initiative will keep on working to ensure that the issue of unpaid internships is addressed during the next resumed session of the Fifth Committee. Meeting with Member States’ representatives in Geneva and New York, working with intern boards based in both cities and campaigning online and offline to raise awareness on this issue are some of the strategies for the upcoming months. The initiative also plans to carry out a new UN-wide interns’ survey, as in 2015, in order to collect reliable data on interns and their living conditions.
We launched a social media campaign via Thunderclap! Register with your Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr and join hundreds of people as we post as one a message to the UN delegates while they gather to discuss budget issues in New York.
The post goes live on March 1st, #ZeroDiscrimination Day!
New York, 10 November 2015 – A flash mob at 1 pm, a panel discussion later in the evening, constant lobbying for our cause before, after and in between: 10 November was International Interns’ Day, and it was a success!
Programme of the day
1.00 pm-1:30 pm: Interns’ flash mob at UNHQ 46th st entrance. Protesters brought their empty shoes to represent the invisible interns who couldn’t afford to be at the UN(Check out the campaign #UNPAIDisUNSEEN)
6.00 p,-8.00 pm: High-level panel discussion on the role and prospects for young people at the UN. The discussion focused on the opportunities (internships, JPO, YPP) as well as the main challenges facing young people within the UN system today. Panelists included:
The Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth
UNICEF New Talent Team
President of the Coordinating Committee of International Staff Unions and Associations
UNDP Focal Point on Youth
Current JPOs and consultants
For more photos, have a look at our Gallery.