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After ICP Exposes Sale of UN Internship at UN for $20,000, UN Contacts CharityBuzz

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, May 1 -- What does the UN do when it is shown that an internship at the UN is being sold, online, for more than $20,000?

  First it jests, then it asks. But the position remains for sale, with bids open until May 14, here.

  On the morning of May 1, Inner City Press exposed a "bid over $20,000 for an unpaid six week 'internship at the UN in New York City working for the UN-NGO Committee on Human Rights'... This UN has put up with many conflicts of interest, for example envoy Tony Blair being paid $11 million by Kazakhstan. By given the first question only to UN Correspondents Association who pay $70 dues, the UN has allowed a 'pay to question' system. But this?"

  After publishing this article, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson Martin Nesirky at the May 1 noon briefing (video here, from Minute 13:42)

Inner City Press: there is a UN internship thatís being auctioned off online. I am not assuming that youíd know of this, but I have seen it, I have written an article about it --

Spokesperson Nesirky : Well, you want it? You want it or something?

Inner City Press: No, no, not at all, I wanted to know if it is legal. They are saying that people should pay $22,000 to work in the UN, itís for the UN NGO Committee on Human Rights, for six weeks. They are auctioning it off openly to benefit something called the RFK Young Leaders Foundation. But, it seems to smack ofÖ it says, youíll learn how the UN really works. I am wondering if the UN is comfortable with positions inside the building being sold for money online.

Spokesperson Nesirky: Iíll have to look into that; I am not aware of that particular unusual story, Matthew. But, I am happy to look into it.

Inner City Press: Thank you.

  Throughout the afternoon, Inner City Press received responses from all over. But from the UN Spokesperson, nothing until after 7:30 pm:

Subject: Re: Your question today
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at] un.org
Date: Wed, May 1, 2013 at 7:53 PM
To: Matthew.Lee [at] innercitypress.com

Internships at the United Nations are not for sale and cannot be put up for auction. We are trying to find out the details of how this came about and have contacted 'charitybuzz.com'

  Well, that's something. But RFK's Michael Sandel was asked; later, Inner City Press asked the RFK Center's Sierra Ewert:

"I am a journalist who covered the UN; this morning I wrote a story, then asked the UN a question, about the RFK Center's RFK Young Leaders role in the auctioning off of a "UN internship" for over $20,000 on CharityBuzz.com. I want to ask you, on deadline, what the RFK Center's knowledge of, involvement in, and position on this auctioning off of an internship at the UN is. Please respond ASAP."

  Watch this site.

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