News – 2015-2013

The topic of unpaid internships at the UN and the work of the Fair Internship Initiative are regularly mentioned in the news. Here’s a selection of the most important articles from 2015 to 2013.

December 2015

  • Réforme du droit des stages, le gouvernement propose sa réforme aux Nations unies – Le Monde, 24 December 2015 – “Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, ministre de l’éducation nationale, serait-elle également chargée de l’exportation de la législation française? On pourrait le croire à la lecture du courrier qu’elle a fait parvenir le 27 octobre à Ban Ki-moon, secrétaire général des Nations unies (ONU), et que Le Monde a pu consulter.”
  • EXCLUSIVE: ‘Unpaid internships perpetuate system of inequality,’ say HRW interns – RT, 22 December 2015 – “A group of Human Rights Watch (HRW) interns have submitted a damning internal report condemning one of the world’s foremost human rights “standard bearers” for denying its own interns basic workers’ rights, RT has learned.”

  • Unseen Within the United Nations – Huffington Post, 18 December 2015 – “The understanding that my status as an unpaid intern and the roles assigned to me could indeed be questioned was not immediate. The over-idealization of the UN, had made my fellow interns and I see it as an aspiration, quite naive to what could be the consequences of free labour.”

November 2015

  • Column: UN Interns should maybe talk to the Human Rights committee – Arizona Daily Wildcat, 20 November 2015 –  “The United Nations is perhaps one of the most well-recognized global entities in the world. For better or worse, they have influence in nearly every country in the world and fund research, development and policy work.”
  • Unbezahlt ist ungesehen – Süddeutsche Zeitung, 17 November 2015 – “Marie, 27, ist gerade Praktikantin bei den Vereinten Nationen in New York. Unbezahlt, wie fast alle Praktikanten der UN. Vor drei Monaten schrieben sie deshalb einen offenen Brief an den Generalsekretär Ban Ki Moon. Letzte Woche war die Initiative mit einer neuen Aktion in den Medien.”
  • ‘Fair payment’ protest by interns at the United Nations in New York broken up by security forces – The Independent, 12 November 2015 – “Around 1pm local time on Tuesday, a group of around 20 interns from various UN agencies braved bad weather to stage a flash mob outside the visitors’ entrance holding signs reading ‘UNpaid is UNseen’.”
  • UN Intern Protest Ends With Security Breaking Things Up, Asking to Delete Photographs – Vice, 10 November 2015 – “In their latest protest pushing to get paid, United Nations interns congregated in a flash mob outside the organization’s New York headquarters on Tuesday, but were dispersed by security after entering the General Assembly building. That’s when security personnel also told VICE News to delete photographs of the encounter.”
  • UN Interns: shoes at the headquarters as a symbol for those who are unpaid and “unseen” – ONUItaila, 10 November 2015  – ““Unpaid is unseen”, unremunerated means invisible. This is the meaning of the shoes positioned under the portraits of United Nation Secretary Generals in the visitors lobby. Empty shoes like the wallet of UN Interns who brought inside the Headquarters the global protest of the first International Interns Day.”
  • UNpaid Interns Protesting in UN Are Told Signs Are Illegal, As Is Filming – Inner City Press, 10 November 2015 – Amid mounting questions about the UN using only unpaid interns, favoring the most affluent, a group of interns tried to raise the issue inside the UN on November 10. But UN Security first told them they could not display their (small) signs, then tried to prevent photographing and filming of the muted protest by the press. This is today’s UN.”

October 2015

  • Unpaid Interns of the World, Unite! The U.N. and Work in the 21st Century – Huffington Post, 23 October 2015 – “Seventy years after its establishment, the UN should not be participating in an exploitative process while justifying it with self-soothing mendacity.”
  • The Travesty of Unpaid Internships – Naked Politics, 10 October 2015 – “In recent weeks, two high-profile incidents at the United Nations have catalysed something of a debate in the media concerning the issue of unpaid internships; a debate which was sorely needed.”

September 2015

  • 시위 주도한 이탈리아인 대학생 “UN 인턴십은 명백한 차별 – Wikitree, 30 September 2015
  • U.N.’s Unpaid Interns Protest in New York – Newsweek, 24 September 2015 – “It is supposed to be the forum for the world’s nations to come together, promote human rights and work towards world peace, but earlier this week, the United Nations found itself the target of a protest over an issue closer to home. On Tuesday, a group of both current and former U.N. interns protested outside the organization’s New York headquarters over the organization’s policy of hosting unpaid internships.”
  • Unpaid Internships perpetuate inequality between rich and poor students – The Daily Targum, 23 September 2015 – “Some believe unpaid internships are merely resume boosters for the rich. With competition in the job market on the rise, internships are becoming an increasingly important experience for students to have. “Test-driving” a new career, potential college credit and networking are three of the many benefits that students accrue from an internship, according to CNN.”
  • La ONU se ampara en los estados miembros para no pagar a sus becarios – La Marea, 23 September 2015 – “La Organización de Naciones Unidas, símbolo de la defensa de los Derechos Humanos y las libertades de todos los ciudadanos y seres humanos no paga a sus becarios y se ampara en que no le corresponde a ella como institución el determinar o no el pago a sus becarios, sino que “corresponde a cada Estado Miembro” el establecer “las condiciones del servicio”.”
  • Pissed-Off UN Interns Protest Unpaid Internships Outside UN Headquarters – VICE News, 22 September 2015 – “Many of those joining hands outside the UN stressed that they were, in essence, advocating for those who can’t afford to be there – those in developing countries who are interested and passionate about the UN, but don’t have the means to enter it at the bottom.”
  • Swiss foreign minister dismisses calls for UN intern resolution – SwissInfo, 14 September 2015 – “The Swiss foreign minister has dismissed calls for Switzerland to back a campaign for paid United Nations internships via a resolution at the 70th UN General Assembly. He says Switzerland is ‘monitoring’ the situation while admitting some aspects are ‘unsatisfactory’.” 
  • ONU: le combat des stagiares non remuneres continue – 24heures, 7 September 2015 – “S’il a été dépassé par l’ampleur prise par son histoire, David Hyde n’aura pas attiré l’attention des médias pour rien. L’écho donné en plein mois d’août à la situation des stagiaires non rémunérés de l’ONU (lire nos éditions précédentes) a fait remonter à la surface un dossier qui traînait sur les étagères de l’administration onusienne depuis plusieurs années.”
  • How can the UN fight inequality when it doesn’t pay its interns? – The Guardian, 3 September 2015 – “David Hyde, the 22-year-old New Zealander who made headlines worldwide when he lived in a tent during an unpaid internship with the UN in Geneva, is visibly uncomfortable with the attention his story has received. This, he says, is not the conversation we should be having. “It took a white middle-class boy from a developed country to live in a tent [to draw attention to the issue of unpaid work], yet tens of thousands of people from the developing world are excluded every day.””

August 2015

  • U.N. Interns Should Be Paid – Huffington Post, 26 August 2015 –“I was an unpaid intern. While technically working in the building, I was not part of the U.N. system. (…) But at least I had the money to begin with. Many young people don’t even bother applying for an internship, knowing they can’t afford to take months off work or university to be unpaid labour.”
  • United Nations’ Interns Pay Debate Ramps Up – Huffington Post, 25 August 2015 – “A campaign for equality is brewing at the United Nations with unpaid interns challenging Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon himself for greater recognition and remuneration.”
  • Les stagiaires du monde entier ecrivent a Ban Ki-Moon pour defendre leurs droits – Le Figaro, 25 August 2015 – “À la suite du coup de projecteur porté par David Hyde, vivant sous une tente à Genève, sur la non-rémunération des stagiaires de l’ONU, ces derniers ont adressé une lettre à son secrétaire général. Et attendent une réponse.”
  • So beschwert man sich bei Ban Ki-moon – Süddeutsche Zeitung, 21 August 2015 – “Uno-Praktikanten wollen für ihre Arbeit bezahlt werden – und schreiben einen offenen Brief an Ban Ki-moon. Im Interview erklärt die Verfasserin Tjorven Sievers, wie es ist, sich beim Generalsekretär der Vereinten Nationen zu beschweren.”
  • Why the UN doesn’t pay its interns – The Economist, 20 August 2015 – “The interns who can afford it, chiefly the affluent and metropolitan locals, collectively bear little resemblance to the sort of workplace diversity the UN strives to achieve.”
  • L’ONU ne paie pas ses stagiaires mais veut augmenter les salaires de ses cadres – Le Temps, 20 August 2015 – “L’organisation a recruté 4018 stagiaires entre 2012 et 2013. Des chiffres qui n’incluent pas toutes les structures autonomes comme les organisations mondiales de la santé (OMS) ou du commerce (OMC).”
  • 유엔 무급인턴들, “월급 달라” 반기문 총장에 편지 (전문) – Huffington Post, 19 August 2015 – “유엔 인턴과 젊은 직원들의 모임인 ‘공정하게 보상받는 양질의 인턴십 계획'(QFRII)은 지난주 반 총장에게 편지를 보내 “인턴은 경험뿐만 아니라 재정적, 비재정적으로 필요한 지원을 받아야 한다”며 유급 전환을 촉구했다고 워싱턴포스트(WP)가 18일(현지시간) 보도했다.”
  • Becarios a coste cero en la ONU – El Pais, 19 August 2015 – “La organización de las Naciones Unidas reconoce en el artículo 23 de la Declaración Universal de los Derechos Humanos que “toda persona tiene derecho, sin discriminación alguna, a igual salario por trabajo igual”. Sin embargo, en la agencia de la ONU en Ginebra, así como en las de Viena o Nueva York, la organización no prevé forma de pago alguna para las prácticas de seis meses que ofrece cada año.”
  • Read the letter unpaid interns wrote to their boss, the U.N.’s Ban Ki-Moon – Washington Post, 18 August 2015 – “Following the very public spectacle of an unpaid United Nations intern who was living in a tent in Geneva to save money, there’s been a global outpouring of criticism and debate about the international organization’s use of unpaid internships. “The U.N. is supposed to promote labor standards and human rights,” Ian Richards, executive secretary of the U.N. Geneva Staff Council,told WorldViews last week. “Instead, attention has been drawn to one of its interns sleeping in a tent.”
  • El programa de becas de la ONU excluye a los jóvenes de los países en vías de desarrollo – VICE, 17 August 2015 – “Las prácticas no remuneradas de la ONU fueron duramente criticadas esta semana después que algunos informes sacaron a la luz que un becario de 22 años de edad nacido en Nueva Zelanda estaba viviendo en una tienda de campaña en Ginebra porque no podía permitirse el lujo de pagar la renta en la ciudad suiza.”
  • UN employed more than 4,000 unpaid interns in 2012-13, figures show – The Guardian, 14 August 2015 – “Richards said the UN has just agreed on a set of ambitious development goals to accomplish by 2030, adding: “It needs young people within its ranks from all countries.”
  • Protest vor Genfer UN-Sitz gegen unbezahlte Praktika – Kurier, 14 August 2015 – “Rund 100 Studenten und Uni-Absolventen haben am Freitag vor dem Genfer Sitz der Vereinten Nationen für eine Vergütung von Praktika bei UN-Organisationen demonstriert. In Sprechchören riefen sie “Unpaid is unfair – pay your intern” (unbezahlt ist unfair – bezahlt eure Praktikanten). Bei der UNO gibt es auch für längere Praktika grundsätzlich kein Geld.”
  • Le stagiaire de l’ONU, sans ressources, choisit de démissionner – Le Figaro, 12 August 2015 – “Non rémunéré, David Hyde devait dormir dans une tente faute de pouvoir payer un logement à Genève. «Je ne crois pas que ce système soit juste», a-t-il déclaré ce mercredi matin en quittant son poste.”
  • How a UN intern was forced to live in a tent in Geneva – BBC, 12 August 2015 – The case of a United Nations intern found sleeping in a tent on the shores of Lake Geneva has drawn attention to the United Nations practice (one it shares with big business and some European Union institutions) of employing interns on an unpaid basis.”
  • Unpaid UN intern forced to live in a tent because he can’t afford rent – The Telegraph, 12 August 2015 – “Agnes Arnold-Forster, a British PhD student who interned for five months at UNAIDS in Geneva, said: ‘Geneva is entirely populated by UN workers and those in financial services who are incredibly well-paid, and there is this weird subculture of unpaid interns who have to operate on a different plane because they can’t afford even groceries. I had saved for over a year to afford to go and intern. I definitely did struggle.’”
  • Kiwi UN intern was forced to live in a tent – NZ Herald, 12 August 2015 – “A Kiwi intern at the United Nations in Geneva, who was forced to live in a tent because he couldn’t afford accommodation in one of the world’s most expensive cities, has been offered help by dozens of concerned locals.”
  • Stagiaire non rémunéré à l’ONU, David vit sous tente – Tribune de Genève, 10 August 2015 – “Un Néo-Zélandais s’est résigné à dormir en plein air. Il dénonce la politique de stage des organisations internationales.”

July 2015

  • L’ONU défend le droit du salaire sans l’appliquer – TOPO, 20 July 2015 – “Samedi, une cinquantaine d’étudiants s’est retrouvée vers 17h sur la place des Nations, devant l’ONU, pour défendre les droits des stagiaires non-rémunérés autour du slogan “unpaid is unfair”. Le mouvement dénommé “Pay your interns” n’est pas nouveau puisqu’il a été crée en 2013.”
  • Des jeunes se mobilisent pour dénoncer les stages non rémunérés – RTS Info, 18 July 2015 – “Une cinquantaine de jeunes se sont rassemblés samedi devant l’ONU à Genève pour dénoncer les stages non rémunérés proposés par la plupart des organisations internationales.”
  • Mobilisation des jeunes contre les stages non rémunérés – Le Courrier, 18 July 2015 – “En plus de revendiquer des salaires décents, le mouvement insiste sur la formation, souvent négligée par les employeurs. “Ces conditions de travail sont incompatibles avec les valeurs prônées par l’ONU, telles que la diversité ou l’égalité des chances”.
  • Les jeunes dénoncent la pratique des stages non rémunérés – Le Matin, 18 July 2015 – “Les manifestants réunis à l’initiative du mouvement «Pay Your Interns» ont brandi leur slogan devant les grilles du Palais des Nations Unies: «Unpaid is Unfair». Ce rassemblement était organisé à l’occasion de la journée internationale des stagiaires.”
  • Les stagiaires se mobilisent pour être payés – 20 minutes, 18 July 2015 – “Une cinquantaine de jeunes se sont rassemblés samedi devant l’ONU à Genève pour dénoncer les stages non rémunérés proposés par la plupart des organisations internationales.”
  • « PAYEZ VOS STAGIAIRES » ! – Jet D’Encre, 1 July 2015 – “Alors que depuis quelques années le Bachelor en Relations Internationales de l’Université de Genève connaît un succès phénoménal, le secteur, lui, semble en crise.”

June 2015

  • Interns face uphill struggle in Geneva – Swissinfo, 5 June 2015 – “On May 1 around 50 young interns braved the driving rain to take part in the annual Labour Day march through Geneva city centre. At the end of their tether, the group of interns, students and young professionals decided this year to form a “Pay Your Interns” movement, which now has around 700 supporters on facebook.”
  • La galère des stagiaires de l’ONU – Swissinfo, 5 June 2015 – “Les stagiaires sont le nouveau visage de la précarité: jeunes et surqualifiés, ils enchaînent les stages, souvent non-payés, avec l’espoir de décrocher un premier emploi à plein temps. Le problème s’avère particulièrement grave au sein de la Genève internationale.”
  • ‘Give young people decent jobs and they will create a better future’ – UN chief – United Nations Blog, 1 June 2015 – “When young people have decent jobs, political weight, negotiating muscle and real influence in the world, they will create a better future, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today as he kicked off a Headquarters event on empowering youth through employment.”

May 2015

  • TOUT STAGIAIRE MÉRITE SALAIRE – Jet D’Encre, 15 May 2015 – ” L’ONU n’étant pas soumise au droit suisse, cela empêcherait donc toute volonté politique, si elle existait, de faire pression en faveur des stagiaires. Pour cette raison, les membres du mouvement PYII préfèrent inscrire leur action dans la durée afin d’attirer l’attention des représentants des ressources humaines des agences onusiennes et de réunir d’autres associations derrière lui.”
  • Les «stagiaires esclaves» rallient le défilé du 1er mai – Tribune de Genève, 1 May 2015 – “C’est spécialement incohérent au sein de l’ONU qui promeut partout dans le monde des valeurs comme la non-discrimination, la diversité et la participation. Mais qui ne les applique pas à son personnel. En payant leurs stagiaires, les Nations Unies pourraient aussi servir de guide pour les autres organismes.”

April 2015

  • UN interns plan Labour Day march over pay – The Local CH, 30 April 2015 – “Interns working for Geneva-based international organizations are planning a march through the city on Labour Day (Friday) to protest against unpaid internships at the United Nations and other employers.”
  • Les stagiaires non-payés de l’ONU vont manifester – 20 Minutes, 30 April 2015 –“C’est un cercle vicieux, poursuit Marjolaine. Car pour espérer avoir un salaire décent, on doit enchaîner les stages, qui sont mal reconnus en terme d’expérience professionnelle.”


  • Unpaid internships ‘favour the rich’ – BBC News, 12 November 2014 – “Taking an unpaid internship can cost an individual £926 a month in London or £804 in Manchester, suggests research for an education charity.


  • Le carburant occulte de la Genève internationale – Le Temps, 22 July 2013 – “Les stages sont devenus incontournables, mais ils échappent à tout contrôle. Sans conditions-cadres, les jeunes se retrouvent souvent sous-payés et livrés à eux-mêmes
  • Meritocracy for sale – Al jazeera, 4 May 2013 – “As a UN internship mistakenly goes up for auction, focus must be given to the nature of unpaid UN internships