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Wednesday, March 17, 2021

African IHRA competition beckons on young essayists - ITREALMS

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The African Chapter of the International Human Rights Art Festival (IHRAF) has urged African essayists and writers to participate in the ongoing African Human Rights Essay Competition with the theme, Human Rights Abuse and Violations in Africa.

In a press statement issued and signed by Wole Adedoyin, President of the International Human Rights Art Festival- African Chapter (IHRAF Africa) called on essayists to lend their voices on human rights abuse and violation in their respective countries in Africa.


Entries are only expected in essays from budding and established essayists and writers within and outside Africa from African Essayists and Writers. Intending entries should focus exclusively on the theme, ‘Human Rights Abuse and Violations in Africa’ and only works relating to the theme will be accepted for the competition.

According to the Press Statement, “In Africa, the idea of human rights is a comparatively recent phenomenon. Contributing to the establishment of human rights system in Africa are the United Nations, international law and the African Union which have positively influenced the betterment of the human rights situation in the continent. However, extensive human rights abuses and violations still occur in many sections of the continent. Most of the violations can be attributed to political instability (as a consequence of civil war), racial discrimination, corruption, post-colonialism, economic scarcity, ignorance, illness, religious bigotry, debt and bad financial management, monopoly of power, lack/absence of judicial and press autonomy, border conflicts, unauthorized intrusion of privacy, establishment of laws barring specific of free expression, criminal defamation laws that are usually indistinct, restrictions on freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and association, corruption of government officials, lack or absence of independence and neutrality in the judiciary, gross domestic violence against women, prohibition of same sex activities, sexual abuse on LGBTI persons, and human trafficking.

The scope of the submission must directly relate to this year’s topic: Human Rights Abuse and Violations in Africa.

This year’s prizes will also be awarded in the names of the following African human rights defenders:

Nelson Mandela Prize: $100 - Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the country's first black head of state and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election. Mandela spent 27 years in jail, much of it on Robben Island, fighting against Apartheid.

Thomas Sankara Prize: $75 - Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara was a Burkinabé military officer and socialist revolutionary who served as the President of Burkina Faso from 1983 to 1987. A Marxist–Leninist and pan-Africanist, he was viewed by supporters as a charismatic and iconic figure of revolution and is sometimes referred to as "Africa's Che Guevara". Sankara launched programs for social, ecological and economic change. His foreign policies were centred on anti-imperialism, while he rejected aid from organizations such as the International Monetary Fund, Sankara welcomed foreign aid from other sources but tried to reduce reliance on aid by boosting domestic revenues and diversifying the sources of assistance. His domestic policies were focused on preventing famine with agrarian self-sufficiency and land reform, prioritising education with a nationwide literacy campaign and promoting public health. Sankara built scores of schools, health centers, water reservoirs, and nearly 100 km of rail, with little or no external assistance. Total cereal production rose by 75% between 1983 and 1986.

Omoyele Sowore Prize: $50 - Omoyele "Yele" Sowore is a Nigerian human rights activist, pro-democracy campaigner, former presidential candidate, and founder of an online news agency Sahara Reporters. On 3 August, 2019 Sowore was arrested by the Nigerian State Security Service for alleged treason after calling for a protest tagged RevolutionNow. His 2019 detention of 144 days without charge attracted the protest of Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ). Omoyele appeared at the first International Human Rights Art Festival, in NYC on March 3, 2017.

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