- Sputnik International
Get the latest news from around the world, live coverage, off-beat stories, features and analysis.

Security Breaks Up United Nations Intern Protest Calling for Fair Pay

© REUTERS / Lucas JacksonThe United Nations headquarters is lit up in blue to honor the 70th anniversary of the United Nations in New York, October 23, 2015
The United Nations headquarters is lit up in blue to honor the 70th anniversary of the United Nations in New York, October 23, 2015 - Sputnik International
Interns from various UN agencies gathered on Tuesday at the visitors’ entrance of the UN’s headquarters in New York to mark International Interns Day and demand fair payment for interns’ work in the organization. They were promptly dispersed by security.

Exterior View of the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) - Sputnik International
United Nations Achieves Global Goals 70 Years After Creation
Despite rainy weather, the protesters stood outside the building for twenty minutes, holding signs that read "unpaid is unseen." They also placed several pairs of shoes in a line in front of them, a symbol of young people from developing countries who can't afford to participate in unpaid UN internships.

As many of the intern positions are located in the most expensive cities in the world, including New York and Geneva, many simply don't have the means to relocate for a three- or six-month stint with the UN. A group calling itself the Fair Internship Initiative (FII), which organized Tuesday's event, is calling on all UN agencies to offer paid internships.

"People from the developing world need that money," one of the protesters, German intern Mehrnusch Anssari who works at the UN's legal department, told VICE News. "I think that interns should be paid, especially those who can't afford to come here."

Despite the peaceful demonstration, security descended on the group just as they entered the General Assembly building to take pictures in front of a panel of portraits of current and former Secretary Generals. The interns were told that protests aren't allowed inside the UN.

UN Headquarters, New York City - Sputnik International
United Nations: A Cloudy Future
The interns managed to take a few photographs together, only after they put away their signs, but were again asked to leave by two other security officers from the UN's Emergency Response Unit who promptly showed up at the scene, in black bulletproof vests. The officers also asked VICE News reporters to delete the photographs of the encounter. According to VICE, the guards' actions were unnecessarily intimidating.

Though satisfied with their own efforts to ensure their rights, the interns said they understood that protests could jeopardize their current positions and future jobs at the UN.

To participate in the discussion
log in or register
Заголовок открываемого материала