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 UnpaidIsUnfair.org
Make Youth a Priority - Pay UN Interns a Fair Wage
Under your leadership, the United Nations is developing a System-Wide Action Plan on Youth at a time when young people are experiencing record levels of unemployment across the world. While your efforts are to be commended, it is unfortunate that the United Nations does not do more for its own young workers, namely the thousands of unpaid interns that contribute to the organization's work each year. With head offices in New York and Geneva, undertaking an unpaid internship with the United Nations is an experience that few of the world's youth can afford.
As the UN continues to seek input from youth around the world, I call on you and the other heads of UN agencies to make a commitment to provide fair compensation to your interns. Young people are an incredible source of energy and ideas. As the world's future leaders, we are eager to help improve the lives of millions by upholding the very ideals the United Nations works towards throughout the world.
At a time when young people are struggling to find work, affording UN interns the recognition and financial support they deserve will send a positive message to governments and businesses around the globe. Giving youth the opportunity to contribute their passion and determination shouldn't have to come for free. Help make youth a true priority for the United Nations by ensuring each young person has the financial support they need and deserve.