Make Youth a Priority - Pay UN Interns a Fair Wage
  • Petitioning Youth

This petition will be delivered to:

United Nations Social Policy and Development Division
Secretary-General of the United Nations
Ban Ki-moon
UN Secretary General's Envoy on Youth
Ahmad Alhendawi

Make Youth a Priority - Pay UN Interns a Fair Wage

    1. Matt Hamilton
    2. Petition by

      Matt Hamilton

      New York, NY

In light of the world economic crisis, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on countries to make youth and youth employment issues a priority.

Despite his organization's good intentions, the United Nations fails to recognize the importance of its own interns, thousands of which contribute their energy and passion for no pay. Given the high cost of living in key UN cities, such as New York and Geneva, undertaking a UN internship is an experience that few can afford, especially those from the very developing countries the organization strives to serve.

Young people face insurrmontable difficulties in finding work all over the world, with some areas experiencing youth unemployment rates of over 50%.  After working hard towards achieving a good education, young people now find themselves stuck in a Catch-22: without experience, they can't find jobs; yet without a job, they can't gain experience.

Internships have become a vital way to help bridge this divide.  Unfortunately, internships have also become an easy way for organizations to access free labor.  It is troubling that the United Nations, an organization that stands for equality and justice, is no exception.

To live up to its ideals and set an example for the world, the United Nations should make a commitment to provide fair compensation to its interns, ensuring that future leaders receive the financial support they need and deserve.

Tell the UN that young people matter by signing this petition.

For more information, please visit

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 6,000 signatures
    2. Over 500 signatures!!

      Matt Hamilton
      Petition Organizer

      Congratulations everyone! We reached over 500 signatures today.

      That's great news, but there's still more that needs to be done.

      To help get more attention, we've created a website where people can read more about this important issue.

      We would like to invite you to take a look. You'll see there is a section for "Featured Stories."

      That's where we need your help!

      Policymakers and the public in general need to see and hear the real stories you have about the UN Internship program.

      Are you a former or current intern? Would you like to be an intern, but can't afford to do so? Are you a UN employee with hardworking interns that you think deserve to be paid?

      Contact us at and share your story.

      Together we can make sure the UN internship system is a fair one.

      Thanks for your continued support!

      Matt Hamilton
      a former UN intern

    3. Reached 500 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Stephanie Bouckley HALIFAX, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 9 days ago

      It's modern day slavery wrapped up as opportunity, it's exploitative and wholly inappropriate

    • Manu Sriram Kamath NEW DELHI, INDIA
      • 9 days ago

      Because I am an intern at UNOG

    • induja m,j SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA
      • 10 days ago

      Youth leadershipship and equal opportunities for Human development is a high priority of UN. However, besides thes principles and agendas, the UN itself they dont follow any of them when it comes to internship. A living subsistence to a struggling student can make a lot of difference!

    • Adriana Todorova WIEN, AUSTRIA
      • 10 days ago

      Because young professionals can only advance to professionals only if a real life professional gives them the opportunity to do so!

    • Julia Dowling WASHINGTON, DC
      • 10 days ago

      As a former OHCHR intern, I've learned that all persons have basic human rights - including social and economic rights. The UN should practice what it preaches with it's own workforce.


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