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How unpaid internships undermine human rights

27 September, 2016
13.00 - 14.00
Palais des Nations Room XII, Geneva
Event type: 
unpaid internships
This event "How unpaid internships undermine human rights", taking place in Geneva on 27 September, is co-organized by the Fair Internship Initiative (FII), Public Services International and the "We Pay Our Interns" coalition representatives. On the sidelines of the Human Rights Council, Unions, NGOs and youth activists come together to highlight the urgent need for international organisations and governments to tackle the issue of unpaid internships, both in the wider economy and within their own halls.

The rise of 'internships' is amongst the least examined labour trends of the 21st century. However, with young people across the world denouncing bad practices and unions voicing concerns that internships are replacing entry-level jobs and driving down wages, governments and NGOs are finally starting to take notice. The 2016 UN World Youth Report on Youth Civic Engagement highlighted this trend by criticizing how unpaid internships can “leave youth in an economically more vulnerable position.”

*** Article 23: Do as we say, not as we do? ***
Unpaid internships raise three key issues: they often replace entry-level jobs, they can lead to exploitation as interns end up doing real work of real value with no economic support and they exclude "non-privileged" people (particularly from the global South) who do not have the financial resources to work for free, exacerbating economic and global inequalities. Youth across the world are asking if NGOs and the UN itself cannot be counted on to uphold basic human and workers’ rights, then how can we ever expect other employers in other sectors to do so?
An open discussion will involve all participants in the room and online, exploring the discrimination and inequality which unpaid internships create and examining the vital need to take a firm stand against this worrying employment trend.

Organisations involved:
The Fair Internship Initiative will present data from their latest survey, the UN Staff Council will discuss the push for change within the UN while PSI will address the global rise in precarious work and how unions can support young workers. Finally, speakers from the We Pay Our Interns campaign will highlight the key role which NGOs can play in promoting improved working conditions for young people.

Register for UN Grounds Pass: https://goo.gl/forms/Gck4axO7XHyP07N23

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