African Liberty Essay Contest For High School

This year the KHREF sponsored two essay contests: one for high school students in the United States and one for high school students in other countries.  Essays were due on November 22.   

115 essays were received from 13 high schools in the United States.

34 Essays were received from 11 high schools located in four countries outside the U.S.

We expect to announce the contests’ winners on December 10 (Human Rights Day).  First prize winners will receive $1000.  Second prize winners will receive $500. 

THE QUESTION STUDENTS IN THE U.S. WERE ASKED TO ADDRESS WAS:  Eric Posner, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School claims “the central problem with human rights law is that it is hopelessly ambiguous” and that this ambiguity allows “governments to rationalize almost anything they do.”

1  With that thought in mind, how would you respond to the argument that in calling for banning refugees from Muslim countries from traveling to the United States, deporting undocumented immigrants, and bringing back waterboarding President Trump is ensuring that every citizen’s “right to life, liberty and security of person”

2 is enforced?  In other words, do some rights (e.g. the right of citizens to be secure) take precedence over other rights (e.g. the right of suspects not to be tortured)?  And if so how should the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other human rights documents be amended to specify what should be done when one right conflicts with another?

1 The Case Against Human Rights, https://www.theguardian.com/news/2014/dec/04/-sp-case-against-human-rights

2 Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reads: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”  Article 5 reads:  “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

THE QUESTION STUDENTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES WERE ASKED TO ADDRESS WAS:  What is the most important human rights issue in the country where you live and/or the world and what should be done about it?

Ashley Chico, Grade 10, Lake Highland Preparatory School, Orlando, Florida, adult sponsor Cece Scott

Ethan Davis, Grade 12, East Chapel Hill High School, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, adult sponsor Patricia Berge

Jonathan Johnson, Grade 12, Home-schooled, Irvington, NJ, adult sponsor Tracye Johnson

Layla Kousari, Grade 12, Parkway North High School, St. Louis, Missouri, adult sponsor LuAnn Fallahi

Madeline Kujabi, Grade 10, Bishop Grimes Junior/Senior High School, Syracuse, NY, adult sponsor Marni Nolan

Giana Moreno, Grade 11, Trinity High School, River Forest, Illinois, adult sponsor Margaret McNair

Brandon Oppong-Antwi, Grade 12, Eastern York High School, Wrightsville, PA, adult sponsor Natali Monaghan

Danielle Sanders, Grade 11, Pelham High School, Pelham, Alabama, adult sponsor Connie Hayes Nolen

Maxwell Turk, Grade 10, Northview High School, Johns Creek, Georgia, adult sponsor Camillie Janess

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