The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has been placed on our Wall of Shame following an advertisement for a “Fundraising Intern” in Toronto.
While the career level classification is “student”, the job description requires a “university or college diploma” suggesting that the intern could be a graduate. While unclear based on the advertisement, this position may be required to be a paid position under Ontario’s Employment Standards Act. Alternatively, even if this position falls within United Nations immunity for employees, our position is that all United Nations internships should be paid in order to create equal opportunities.
We will also take this opportunity to acknowledge the excellent work being done by some of our partner organizations, the Geneva Interns Association and the Fair Internship Initiative. These groups advocate to end unpaid internships at the United Nations and other international organizations primarily on the grounds that only the world’s most advantaged people can access them. Every year, the United Nations alone employs more than 2,000 unpaid interns in the world’s most expensive cities. We strongly support their efforts and hope to see all United Nations interns receive wages for their work.