Belfast pupil shortlisted for national Amnesty writing award

Natasha Kelly in running for Young Human Rights Reporter of the Year

A Belfast pupil was shortlisted today for Amnesty International’s Young Human Rights Reporter of the Year award. Natasha Kelly, 11, from Belfast Royal Academy, will now be put forward for final judging – the result of which will be announced at a prestigious ceremony on 19 May.

Nearly 600 Children's rights from across the United Kingdom entered the competition, which is being run by Amnesty International UK and Learnnewsdesk, the education arm of the Guardian website.

Natasha wrote about the recent protests in Egypt.

Julie and Mervyn Kelly, Natasha’s parents said: "We're over the moon for Natasha and very proud of her. She chose a very worthwhile subject to write about and spent time and effort researching and writing the article."

Cáthal Little, teacher in Belfast Royal Academy’s English Department, commented: “We are very proud of Natasha and feel that this is a terrific achievement. As her English teacher I am familiar with the high caliber of work she produces; she is a talented student and I feel that she has a natural affinity with the written word. Everyone in the school extends their congratulations and full support to Natasha. We wish her all the best for the final short listing.”

Emily Drabble, the editor of Learnnewsdesk, was involved in the shortlisting process and added: “I liked the fact that Natasha went to Egypt and thought deeply about what she saw, beyond the pyramids. This triggered her interest and her excellent journalistic questions and analysis.”

Kate Allen, from Amnesty International UK, added: “We’ve been delighted by the response and it shows that there is a real interest in human rights across the generations.”

The winner’s work will then be showcased at Amnesty’s annual Media Awards in central London in front of an audience of hundreds of the nation’s top journalists on 24 May.

They will also receive an Easi-speak MP3 recorder and mic, an Amnesty and Learnnewsdesk goodie bag, an Amnesty International 2011 Media Award, and a VIP trip to the Amnesty and Guardian offices.

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