Unpaid UN Intern Has to Live in a Tent

Because he can't afford rent in Geneva
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2015 12:14 PM CDT
Unpaid UN Intern Has to Live in a Tent
File photo: Accommodations can be pricey in Geneva.   (Shutterstock)

On the surface, it sounds great like a great gig: A 22-year-old New Zealander landed an internship with the UN and is now working in Geneva, where he wakes up with waterfront views. But then the details arrive, as relayed by the Local: David Hyde's six-month internship is unpaid, forcing him to live in a cheap tent near Lake Geneva. Other interns may have parents with deep pockets, but Hyde does not, and his predicament might raise pressure on the UN to end policies that result in most of its interns working without compensation in the expensive city.

“I was perhaps naive in coming here but this policy (of not paying interns) makes me furious," Hyde tells the Tribune de Geneve newspaper, which picked up on his plight after a recent rainstorm. The Geneva Interns Association accuses the UN of exploiting its interns even while pushing for workplace equality around the world, and stories such as Hyde's will probably help the cause. As for that rainstorm: "I did not choose the most waterproof tent in the store." (The White House has been hit with similar complaints.)

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