In 2016, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Geneva joined forces on the common understanding that promoting human rights and development worldwide must first be applied to basic human rights in their own structures. As a result of this, they started promoting a basic pay (stipend) for their interns.
There is no justification whatsoever that could support any structure working towards the improvement of human rights that does not pay its interns. Not to pay interns prevents people from the Global South from interning in Northern NGOs and International Organisations (IOs). This is fundamentally contrary to the most basic human values that we claim to defend.
Youth Business Network supports this initiative and join with our forces from May 2017.
We have to put an end to what has become normal and acceptable. We proudly proclaim that we pay our interns.
Below you can find the charter of the initiative:
(Charter updated as of 3 November 2016)
Recalling that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights article 23 states that « Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity »,
Recognising the valuable work and essential support interns provide to international and national Non-Governmental Organisations,
Reaffirming that interns deserve decent compensation for their work,
Bearing in mind that activities undertaken toward a universal implementation of human rights labour standards cannot be achieved if some of their core promoters do not comply with basic standards,
An “intern” is defined as an individual seeking work experience and learning about professional opportunities, either during or after their graduation. An “internship” is not equivalent to a first job due to its flexible, short term (preferably a six-month period maximum), and learning experience nature. The purpose of an internship is for an individual to acquire knowledge and practical experience in the sector they are interested in pursuing professionally. As a consequence, the internship should occur in a two-year period after the completion of related studies, unless the individual is seeking professional reorientation.
All interns shall receive a monthly stipend for their work.
The stipend for a full-time internship shall not be less than CHF 500 (five hundred Swiss Francs) a month, and in many cases will be considerably higher. The provision of a stipend will be duly reported to local labour and social authorities.
The stipend can include financial and any in-kind contributions, such as food, accommodation, transportation or any other means of support.
When selecting interns, discrimination based on colour, nationality, ethnicity, language, indigenous or social origin, property, birth, age, religion, disability, political or other opinion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics is prohibited.
Any Non-Governmental Organisation can join this voluntary Charter, if they adhere to Articles 2 and 3.
Only Non-Governmental Organisations who commit to decently supporting their interns, as in Article 2, are entitled to use the Charter’s official logo. Members of the Charter commit to publishing annually a list of stipends provided to their interns on both their website and the Charter’s website.
Members of the Charter recognise that CHF 500 should be viewed as a minimum payment. While the mid-term objective and recommended stipend is CHF 1.000 a month, the long-term objective is CHF 2.750 a month, in order to ensure a better diversity. Higher stipends are highly encouraged. Members of the Charter commit to seeking solutions to enable them to increase the minimum payment over time. Not paying interns, whether they work for a National or an International Non-Governmental Organisation, is not tolerated by the members of this Charter.