Belarusian students lift pens for equality

On 19 December, the UN Office in Minsk hosted an award ceremony celebrating winners of a national student essay contest on human rights. The call went out on 15 October for a writing competition aimed to expand the values, principles, respect and protection of human rights. Two months later, the contest, jointly organized by UNO and the Raoul Wallenberg Institute for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, garnered 64 works from 12 schools in Belarus.

On 19 December, the UN Office in Minsk hosted an award ceremony celebrating winners of a national student essay contest on human rights.

The call went out on 15 October for a writing competition aimed to expand the values, principles, respect and protection of human rights. Two months later, the contest, jointly organized by UNO and the Raoul Wallenberg Institute for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, garnered 64 works from 12 schools in Belarus.

Participants were asked to formulate a concrete problem in the area of either “Gender Equality” or “The Rights of Vulnerable Groups” that existed in Belarus, and propose ways and methods to address it.

On "gender equality", the submissions analyzed causes through the prism of family relations, equality of rights and freedoms of men and women in military service, the participation of men and women in child rearing, violence against women and trafficking in women. Vadim Vinnikov, Margarita Vishnyakova, Yekaterina Gulko, Helena Danyluk, Marina Klimova and Valeria Naumovich submitted the prize–winning essays

Essays on "vulnerable populations" encompassed the rights of children, the disabled, refugees, convicted persons, pensioners, rural women, victims of trafficking and sexual minorities. The award–winning writers were Olga Gatelyuk, Valeria Zaiko, Peter Markelov and Maria Sleptsova.

The contest laureates were awarded prizes and diplomas from UNO and the Wallenberg Institute in honour of Human Rights Day. The winners have also been invited to participate in international human rights programmes at the Institute in 2013.

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