UK: youth activism competition celebrates the power of young voices

Eilidh Lynn, a 2019 winner, at the UN

Young people invited to speak about issues they care about with chance of winning training from top human rights professionals

World marks International Youth Day

‘Children and young people have to live in the world society builds and have the same right as anyone else…to be heard on the issues that affect them’ – Katherine Walton

Young people are a powerful force for change and must be listened to by policy makers on the issues affecting them, Amnesty International UK said, as it marked International Youth Day (12 August).

To celebrate the day - which raises awareness of the need to ensure the engagement and participation of youth - Amnesty UK’s Children’s Human Rights Network is inviting young people up to the age of 18 to take part in their ‘Use Your Voice to Demand Your Rights’ competition.

The competition encourages young people to take centre stage and have their voices heard and acted upon in issues affecting them. Participants are asked to answer the question ‘What children’s human rights issue should society be doing more to tackle?’ via a 500-word piece of writing or a two-minute video piece by 1 November.

Winners from each age category will be invited to training sessions from top children's human rights professionals working in the field to strengthen their advocacy skills. Finalists will then have the opportunity to present their arguments in front of UK MPs, regional children’s commissioners and children’s human rights professionals.

Eilidh Lynn, who was a winner of the 2019 ‘Use Your Voice’ competition at age 15, said:

“I can confidently say, this was one of the most valuable experiences of my life. It was so humbling to attend a conference at the United Nations and it was amazing to meet like-minded individuals. It opened up my eyes to the world, all the possibilities and influence young people hold.”

Katherine Walton, Chair, Amnesty International UK Children’s Human Rights Network, said:

“Last year, the world was forced to wake up to the power of children and young people as they took to the streets to call for action on the climate disaster.

“But too often, young people are left out of the big debates, dismissed as being inexperienced or apathetic.

“Children and young people have to live in the world society builds, and have the same rights as anyone else to voice their opinion, have it listened to and respected, and to be heard on the issues that affect them now and in the future.

“The ‘Use Your Voice’ competition celebrates youth activism and helps put young voices on centre stage.

“We hope many young people take part, speak out for the issues they care about, and take it as an opportunity to make even more positive change.”

‘Use Your Voice to Demand Your Rights’ competition details

Young people from Scotland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales, up to 18 years of age, are encouraged to enter. One person from each age group (age 10 and under, 11-13, 14-16 and 17-18) will be the winner of their category.

The submission must address the following question: "What Children's Human Rights issue should society be doing more to tackle?" Entries can be made via a 500-word piece of writing or a two-minute video piece.

The deadline for submissions is 1st November 2020.

For more information and to enter, visit: https://www.amnesty.org.uk/use-your-voice  

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