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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 22nd, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

 

From reporting by Matthew Russell Lee on Inner City Press website.

Mr Lee was the one to break the story about an Internship at an NGO accredited with the UN – now he got an answer from the UN Department of Public Information to his repeated questioning of this issue.

It seems that after Internship in UN was auctioned successfully for $26,000 the buyer – an A.Alam (Mr. or Ms.) – might Not Be Let In to the UN and the UN might introduce changes to its procedures of accreditation that up to know do not disallow such occurrances.

 

As per Mr. Lee:After Inner City Press asked several times about it, the description of the internship being auctioned was “amended,” as the UN spokesman put it, to read:

Take advantage of this exclusive opportunity for a 6-week internship in NYC working for Bruce Knotts, Chair of the UN-NGO Committee on Human Rights. You will gain inside knowledge of just how the UN really operates and have tremendous opportunities to make invaluable connections. This truly is the ultimate internship opportunity for any college or graduate student looking to get their foot in the door!

The auction, on CharityBuzz.com, said it was to benefit the RFK Young Leaders. Press inquiries to that entity and its parent, the RFK Center, did not yield any answers. But today, at least, we have a detailed answers about how such internships or grounds-passes work, from the Director of the UN Department of Public Information’s Outreach Division, Maher Nasser.”

 

 

   Mr. Maher Nasser of the DPI provided now Inner City Press with a detailed UN response on the auctioned internship:

 

Subject: Question re the auctioned internship, thanks
From: Maher Nasser [at] un.org
Date: Mon, May 20, 2013 at 2:38 PM
To: Matthew Russell Lee [at] InnerCityPress.com

 

Hi Matthew, On the internship issue, as you know from the relevant website, this was for an internship with an NGO, not an internship at the UN. The optics of it and use of the UN’s image implied otherwise, which is why I flagged it in the orientation with newly associated NGOs as something that hurts the UN and is not acceptable.

 

Every NGO associated with DPI is entitled to only six yearly passes, two of which are for youth representatives. The names to whom the passes are issued are provided by the president/head of each NGO. By providing the names, the NGO certifies that these names represent the NGO concerned. Up till now, we have had no reason not to grant a pass to people designated as representing an NGO. An old system of temporary passes issued throughout the year was discontinued by DPI several years ago.

 

With reference to the six names provided, and as I said above, this has not happened in the past, if we find out that someone had to pay or buy a slot on that list, we would take it up with the concerned NGO and depending on the feedback, not endorse that name for a pass.

 

In view of the case of the auctioned internship, we are preparing language to be added to the forms to be completed by DPI associated NGOs to avoid such possibilities in the future.

 

  So at a minimum, the “m. alam” on whose behalf $26,000 was bid for this internship might not be endorsed for a pass to actually enter the UN. Would they get a refund? And what do the UN-NGO Committee on Human Rights and the RFK Center have to say?

And we add  as a follow up – Mr. Matthew Lee and his FUNCA group, that fights for the establishing of a channel of freedom of access to information at the UN, ought to be credited for breaking this story and for wrestling the UN in order to achieve needed reform.


 

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