We Pay Our Interns, Proudly

Today, we are one of 27 international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) launching a Charter to encourage all international actors to provide stipends to all interns: WePayOurInterns.org

Following other campaigns pushing for change like the “Pay your interns” Initiative and Mr. David Hyde, interning at the United Nations, pretending to be homeless in order to raise awareness on this topic. We and our fellow NGOs have heard their calls.

We believe this international movement can address the indirect discrimination based on socio-economic background resulting from unpaid internships.

Natalie Widman, HURIDOCS intern, specializes in AI and machine learning.

#WePayOurInterns

With this charter, we highlight the basic principles of adequate remuneration for interns, to which each international governmental and non-governmental organisation should uphold.

The Charter focuses on two main ideas:

  1. minimum stipend of 500 Swiss Francs must be offered to interns in Geneva. Higher stipends are highly encouraged as of today. An increase in the minimum stipend will be provided over time.
  2. The purpose of an internship is for an individual to acquire knowledge and practical experience in the sector they are interested in pursuing professionally.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:

Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity.

Internships pave the way for future international leaders, who will work towards justice and equality.

If interns experience unfair treatment during their first exposure to international actors, the “arc of the moral universe” will definitely not bend towards justice. Interns are of immeasurable value for international organisations.

natalie-widmann-huridocs-quote

Interns do work, therefore they should be paid.

The Charter represents a fundamental step towards acknowledging the contribution of interns to the international human rights system, and its signatories are confident that they will be joined by many more organisations in the coming weeks, months, and years.

Members of the initiative:

Alkarama Foundation, Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT), CCPR Centre, Child Rights Connect, Codap, Docip, FIACAT, FIAN International, Geneva Institute for Human Rights, Good Neighbors International, HURIDOCS, International Disability Alliance, Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), International Publishers Association, Norwegian Refugee Council Representation Office in Geneva, oriGIn, Peace Watch Switzerland, Save the Children, TRIAL, RIDH, Terre des Hommes International Federation, UPR Info, WaterLex, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, World Evangelical Alliance, World YWCA

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