Student Human Rights Reporter of the Year
Today's blog is written by Amy Mackinnon, who was awarded Student Human Rights Reporter 2012 at the Amnesty Media Awards on Tuesday 29 May for her article The Curious Case of John Oguchuckwu, The Glasgow Guardian
I once read somewhere that the measure of a human rights abuse is the reaction which it provokes in the conscience, and John’s case is the epitome of this. Although officially, his deportation was legal, on a human level, something tells you that this just is not right. No human being should ever have to go through what John has, and as soon as I heard about his case in November, I thought, ‘this has to talked about.’
I first heard about Amnesty International’s award for Student Human Rights Reporter from the editor of The Glasgow Guardian, who suggested I enter my piece about John. I have long admired the work of Amnesty International and in that self-effacing British way, almost didn’t apply because I never expected my application to go any further. Needless to say, at each stage, the long-list, short-list and awards ceremony, it was totally unexpected and surreal. The other shortlisted articles in the student category were so strong, and discussed such pressing international human rights issues that I never thought my piece would win. I didn’t even prepare a speech so needless to say, I was caught short when my name was read out!
The awards ceremony itself was inspiring and humbling. It was almost overwhelming to be surrounded by people whose work I have read, watched and admired for so long.
I can’t stress enough however, that although it is my name above the article, the real leg-work to help John has been done by Glasgow University’s branch of STAR (Student Action for Refugees), Glasgow’s Students’ Representative Council (SRC) and staff at Glasgow University, who have all been so dogged in helping John rebuild his life in Nigeria. He is now re-registered as a student and Glasgow University has very kindly paid his fees so that he can finish his degree from Nigeria.
I think that Amnesty International’s student category within their media awards is a great initiative, as not only does it recognize the inherent value of student journalism, it also serves to put human rights at the top of the agenda for the next generation of British journalists.
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.