It has come to my attention that UN interns are forced to live in tents to be able to complete their internship at the UNOG in Geneva. Thanks to the article published by Tribune de Geneve, I have learnt that David Hyde, a 22-year old UN intern from New Zealand was found sleeping in a tent on the shores of Geneva lake, not too far away from Palais des Nations where he had accepted an unpaid 6 months internship.
The poor fellow camped for two weeks before making headlines around the world and forcing UN to hold a special press conference in which three unpaid interns assured journalists they were happy performing 6 months unpaid work. Mind you, professional P-level work!
I read some more articles about the case and it appears that David did somewhat do a mise en scène by camping outside UN. However, he certainly did not have any other means of actually getting a rent.
For anyone who has a basic knowledge of UN, it is a fact that UN interships are unpaid. Period. Most UN System agencies refuse to pay their interns as well. The ILO started paying its interns recently after one poor guy was found sleeping in the basement.
For all the talk there is about this situation being under the sole control of the General Assembly and Member States, the people involved in propagating and abusing the hordes of interns willing to do unpaid work at the UN should feel ashamed.
No press conferences needed. Unpaid is unfair. Trampling on human rights when one is promoting human rights speaks for itself. Period.
And by the way, excellent PR case for supporting intern rights in Geneva, thank you David!