Student essay competition 2020 – Award: travel to Washington

Call for papers – The Swedish Foundation for Human Rights invites submissions to its second student essay competition. The theme of this years’ competition is human rights protection and peace and security in the Americas. The winner will be awarded travel to Washington DC, the United States to participate in events at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

The Swedish Foundation for Human Rights invites submissions to its second essay competition for Bachelor and Master students from various academic disciplines.

Human rights protection in the Americas depends heavily on the situation of peace and security in the region. Crackdown on social protests in Venezuela and Chile, land conflicts in Brazil and Guatemala, internal armed conflicts in Colombia and Mexico, travel bans and drawbacks of refugees’ and migrants’ rights in the US, gender-based killings, attacks on women human rights defenders, indigenous’ and journalists’ rights are but a few examples of the 2019 human rights track record in the Americas.

Regional human rights protection mechanisms and organizations have important roles to play to safeguard people’s human rights, but also to prevent future abuses, and ultimately to ensure sustainable peace and security. This essay competition aims at examining and exploring these interlinkages.

The theme of the essay competition is:

Interlinkages between human rights protection and peace and security in the Americas, including considerations on the role of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights or the Inter-American Court of Human Rights or the Organization of American States.

We invite students from various academic disciplines to participate, such as (but not limited to) law, political science, peace and conflict studies, gender studies, international relations, development studies, Latin American studies, criminology, anthropology and history.

The writer of the winning submission will be awarded travel (approximately 5 days, including upkeep and travel insurance) to Washington DC, the United States, in December 2020 to participate in events at the 178 session of the Inter-American Commission (the timing and location can be subject to changes). The winner will be accompanying representatives of the Swedish Foundation for Human Rights to the session. The winner will be responsible for applying for and obtaining travel authorization. The winner will also present their essay during a seminar of the Swedish Network for Transitional Justice, in the fall 2020. The second and third place will receive one ticket each to the Swedish Forum for Human Rights (Mänskliga Rättighetsdagarna) in Uppsala, 3-5 December 2020.

Eligibility: The submitter of an essay must be enrolled in a Bachelor’s or Master’s program in a university or other higher learning institution in Sweden.

Format: Times New Roman, font size 12, spacing: 1,5, margins 2,5 cm. The length of the essay should be 3 000 – 4 000 words. The essay should be written in English.

Please send your submission to fredrik.svensson@humanrights.se by the 15th of September 2020. Title your e-mail ”Essay Submission”. For further information please contact Fredrik Svensson, Program Manager & International Law Advisor at the Swedish Foundation for Human Rights, fredrik.svensson@humanrights.se


Testimony of Emmy Rosendahl, winner of the essay competition in 2019

The theme of the 2019 competition was the African Human Rights System

“The award trip to the NGO-forum in Banjul, Gambia, was a truly exciting experience! It introduced me to new aspects of the human rights situation in Africa. One such aspect was the serious plight and persecution of people suffering from albinism, which was not something I had ever heard much about before.

I also had the chance to meet and listen to human rights advocates from different countries, cultures and professions, as well as to hear about the specific challenges they have faced. It was a great first-hand introduction to the human rights system in Africa and on a whole different level than just reading about it in a book.

Writing the essay was also a very educative experience, as it gave me the opportunity to explore an area of human rights which I was not yet familiar with. Winning the essay competition is a merit which has been acknowledged at several occasions, such as at interviews for job positions.”

Read Emmy’s winning essay here also available at our webpage www.humanrights.se


This essay competition is part of a project financed by the Folke Bernadotte Academy, through support for the civil society.