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On Internship at UN, Bid Up to $26,000 As UN Can't or Won't Act on Auction

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 3 -- Now the UN insists its Office of Legal Affairs is working hard on the "unusual" auction, now for $22,000, of a "internship at the UN." But how can it be that the UN and OLA have accomplished nothing? Inner City Press first wrote about this on the morning of May 1 and asked about it at that day's noon briefing.

Since then Inner City Press reported that a bidder named "Aygul" was ahead, bidding $22,000. The RFK Center, for which the auction is being conducted, has not provided any explanation.

Yet again at the May 3 noon briefing, the UN said it was still trying to figure out what was going on, and told Inner City Press not to be critical of the lack of results. (TNRS coverage).

And alongside Inner City Press' May 3 noon briefing questions, the bidding on the "internship in the UN building" went higher, with a bid by "m. alam" for $26,000. From the UN's May 3 transcript:

Inner City Press: On this internship question, I am assuming that when you have more you will say more, but yesterday I was saying, that they could contact NGO, and I am looking again at this page. It seems pretty straightforward that an NGO that is accredited to the UN shouldn’t be offering an internship at the UN for $22,000; and the bidding is still open. So, does the UN intend to somehow take action on this while the bidding is open? Can the person who is currently bidding $22,000 actually enter the UN as an intern under the terms that were offered?

Spokesperson Martin Nesirky: Matthew, we have said very clearly that internships at the United Nations are not for sale. Internships at the United Nations, United Nations internships, are unpaid. I also said yesterday that the Office of Legal Affairs is looking into it, and that includes contacting a number of people. You seem to assume what is and is not being done. And I don’t think that is right to do that. They are doing their job to find out. It obviously does look unusual, to say the very least, and we are trying to find out the full details. And once we have something further to say, we will. But just to repeat that United Nations internships are simply not for sale. And furthermore, they are unpaid.

But again, this is the same UN Office of Legal Affairs which after 15 months of delay tersely ruled that all claims about the UN bringing cholera to Haiti were "not receivable." So, no, we do not have confidence in them cleaning this up. Watch this site.

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