“Human Rights Council Resolution 35/14 on youth and human rights, requests the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to conduct a detailed study on the implementation of human rights with regard to young people, the identification of cases of discrimination against young people in the exercise of their human rights, and best practices in the full and effective enjoyment of human rights by young people, highlighting the contribution of empowered youth to the realization of human rights in society, to be submitted to the Council prior to its thirty-ninth session.” [Link to Call for input]
Response to the call for input by OHCHR for the study on youth and human rights.
Submitted by the Fair Internship Initiative, 12 January 2018.
The following contribution is submitted by the Fair Internships Initiative on behalf of the Global Interns Coalition in response to the call for input by the OHCHR, as part of the consultative process envisaged for the completion of the study on youth and human rights, to be submitted to the Council prior to its thirty-ninth session.
Given the global mandate of the submitting youth organizations, the present contribution is not limited to a specific country, but will instead – given the wide geographic entity of the problem – provide a global overview.
1. Introduction: Unpaid internships as a human rights problem
A global issue
One of the greatest challenge experienced by young people is securing decent, stable and fairly remunerated employment. Although specific challenges may vary across regions, the problem is consistently felt by young generations across the globe, with the ensuing risk of economic emargination, poverty, psychological disorders, increased inequality and radicalization.
The International Labour Organization estimates that in 2017 global youth unemployment raised to surpass 13%. With 70.9 million unemployed youth in 2017, the number is expected to rise by 134,000 in 2018.
This is largely due to the persisting youth unemployment rates in high and least developed countries, coupled with deterioration of youth employment prospects in the slowing-down economies of the emerging countries.
Faced with such dramatic labour market conditions, competition for jobs has drastically increased in the past few decades. As a consequence, requirements and expectations of employers in terms of skills set and experience have also increased, while the large number of labour supply has contributed to the sharp worsening in the conditions of employment. In many sectors, “the situation has reached the point where many entry-level jobs no longer exist because all the work is being done by overqualified interns”.