René Cassin’s 2019 ‘Human Writes’ Essay Competition now open!

24 Sep, 2019 | 'Human writes', Latest

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“Social media: friend or foe of human rights?”

Every year René Cassin runs a ‘Human Writes’ essay competition to get people thinking about important human rights issues.

Social media provides activists with a platform for mobilisation, and holding public officials to account. A campaign can be launched with a few characters and the click of a “post” button. However, its rise also exposes people to the risk of privacy violations. Social media censorship can go too far and threaten freedom of expression, or not go far enough and allow abuse and human rights violations to go unchecked. So, does social media help to protect human rights, does it threaten it?

We are delighted that Adam Wagner will judge this year’s entries. Adam is a human rights barrister at Doughty Street Chambers and the Founder and Chair of RightsInfo, the digital human rights charity. He will be looking for well researched, well argued and well written essays.

1st Prize

  • £100
  • Publication on the René Cassin website
  • Copy of East West Street – Philippe Sands‘ acclaimed account of the Jewish legal minds who sowed the seeds for human rights law at the Nuremberg trials.


The René Cassin ‘Human Writes’ essay competition is open to all. The age of the applicant will be considered.


Monday 11th November, 12 noon. Winner announced early December.


Please email us at if you have any queries about this competition.

Have a read through previous winning entries here and here.

Guidelines for Submissions

All entries must address the topic of this year’s competition and be 1000-1500 words (excluding footnotes or bibliography).

Please prepare your entry in accordance with the following guidelines:

  • Your essay should address the question “Social media: friend or foe of human rights?”
  • Entries must be typed and in English
  • Please provide a cover page giving:
    • Your full name
    • Your age
    • Postal address, email and daytime telephone contact number
    • The word count for your entry
  • Do not put your name in the text of the entry
  • Please provide a bibliography
  • Please use:
    • A4/standard letter paper
    • Double line spacing
    • Arial 12 point for the text
  • We do not have a preference for any particular referencing style, as long as it remains consistent throughout the essay
  • Please make sure that your final copy can easily be opened as a Word document and does not have any restrictions placed on it in terms of access

The essays will be judged by human rights Barrister Adam Wagner. He will be looking for well written, well-argued and well researched articles. Deadline: Monday 11th November, 12 noon.

Please email with your submissions and any other questions you may have.

Good luck!

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