Human rights writing challenge for students aged seven to 18


Budding young journalists and photographers are preparing to show off their talents in the 2013 Young Human Rights Reporter of the Year.

There is still time for any budding young journalists or photographers in your school to show off their talents in the 2013 Young Human Rights Reporter of the Year.

The journalism competition is open to students aged from seven to 18 and is split into four categories – upper primary, lower secondary, upper secondary, and 6th form. 

And this year, a new category has been included for photojournalism, offering budding young snappers the chance to win national recognition. This is split into two awards – upper primary/lower secondary, and upper secondary/6th form.

The competition is run by Amnesty International and is supported by SecEd and the Guardian Teacher Network.

Articles can be up to 500 words in length and entries will be accepted in both English and Welsh. Entrants must write an article combining facts, opinion and reportage on a human rights issue.

Last year, topics ranged from the death penalty and sexism to the use of tasers by the police and child soldiers in Africa. 

Among the winning articles was a piece by Heather Booton, then aged 16, from Skipton Girls’ High School, who wrote about women’s rights and abortion in Kenya.

She wrote: “Overdosing on malaria pills. Drinking bleach. Home-made “herbal concoctions”. Forcing bicycle spokes, knitting needles, water pipes, coat hangers, sticks and pens through the cervix. Anaesthetic? Unheard of. If you are a pregnant Kenyan woman, living in poverty, this is your abortion.”

Alice Reynolds, the 13, from The Royal School in Haslemere, wrote about Vietnamise labour camps while Alice Woodhouse, then 17, from Kings High School won for her piece on gypsy and traveller rights.

Alice wrote: “Casual racism and name-calling may not seem to be such a major abuse of human rights, when far more dramatic horrors occur all over the world. But it is still abuse. And it is right in front of us, in a so-called civilised society. A Children’s Society survey in 2007 found that eight out of 10 Gypsy and Traveller children have suffered racial abuse and almost two-thirds have been bullied or physically attacked.”

The deadline for entries to the competition is February 18, with the top three entrants in each category invited to Amnesty’s headquarters for the national awards ceremony on April 30.

For further information and lesson plans or activities, visit


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