Young human rights defenders in the UK motivated with Youth Awards

December 22, 2015

When looking for ways to engage young people in human rights work, this is an idea: Amnesty International UK has been running for many years a series of media awards. In 2010 it added human rights awards for YOUNG reporters, photographers, reporters, campaigners, fundraisers and poets.Amnesty-Internationa

When Niall Couper, head of media at Amnesty UK, joined the organisation eight years ago, he recalls “there was little to encourage young people to explore human rights. As a former teacher, I really appreciate their creative genius and energy. Amnesty wanted to reach out to them and inspire the journalists of tomorrow.” In 2010 the organisation added the Young Human Rights Reporter award to its annual media awards, and the popularity of the category has grown. “Now it has morphed into the Youth Awards, says Couper.“ This year there are six categories: photography, performing, campaigning, fundraising, reporting and, for the first time, poetry. The competition is open to young people between seven and 19, who can enter either independently or as a school group. Alannah Lewis, winner last year in the Further Education category, for her report on the abduction of Aboriginal children in Australia, said she was “really pleased to have been able to bring the topic to light”.

Young photographer Chelsea May agrees: “It’s important to cover human rights issues – many people have become desensitised.” May won with her photograph NEET. “My entry aimed to raise awareness of the young people at risk of falling through the gaps in society,” she says. Another photography winner was Benjamin Levey, who was 12 years old when he entered his image, Why Won’t You Teach Me?, which refers to the right to an education.

The finalists will show their work at an awards ceremony and the Observer will be on the judging panel for reporting, photography and poetry, alongside the Kaiser Chiefs for performance, Paul Conroy for photography, and Anthony Holden and Jackie Kay for poetry. Finalists will receive an Amnesty goodie bag and the chance to attend a workshop specific to their category. Young reporters will be invited to visit the Observer offices.

Source: Calling young human rights defenders: enter the Amnesty UK Youth Awards | World news | The Guardian

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