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As "Internship at UN" Offered for $22,000, UN Won't Contact NGO, Haiti Echo

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 2 -- How hard can it be for the UN to look into the online sale of an "internship at the UN"? Inner City Press wrote about just this on the morning of May 1 and asked about it at that day's noon briefing.

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

  And even 24 hours later, the UN purported it could not find out the details, then pushed back when Inner City Press said how they could easily do this. (TNRS coverage). From the UN's May 2 transcript:

UN Spokesperson Martin Nesirky: I think you had another question, Matthew? And then weíll wrap up.

Inner City Press: yesterday I had asked you about this internship at the UN and I appreciate the answer that the UN is checking with Charity Buzz and that you donít think that it is a UN internship. I was looking at the way it was advertised and, one, it is advertised as something that will teach you how the UN really works and get your foot in the door, and itís not clear if that means with the RFK Center or the UN. But more than --

Spokesperson Nesirky: WellÖ

Inner City Press: can I just finish the question?

Spokesperson: Please do, please do.

Inner City Press: even if itís a non-UN internship, if an NGO accredited here is part of an advertising scheme or, you know, set-up in which people are bidding $22,000 and it is being offered as sort of a way to get into the UN, is this a problem from either OLAís [Office for Legal Affairs] point of view or the Secretary-Generalís point of view that access seems to be being sold?

Spokesperson: We have said very clearly that no UN internships can be sold. Thatís not how we operate. We also said very clearly to you and to others who have asked that we are in touch with this website to try to understand what is going on exactly, because we do not know. We are trying to find out. So, we canít really comment further until we know the background on this. But, I think it is clear, we said very clearly, that UN internships are not for sale. Simple; end of story.

Inner City Press: I appreciate that. It seems like the internship is being offered with an NGO thatís accredited here, so there seems like another way to probably find this out --

Spokesperson: Well, as I say, Matthew, thank you for telling the Legal Affairs Office how to do their job. I can assure you they are looking into it. All right. Thanks very much. Have a good afternoon. Thank you.

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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