Today we're launching our first ever essay-writing competition! Our film Young People: How our Human Rights Act works for you, explains the human rights protections we all enjoy under the Human Rights Act here in the UK. Following on from this we want you to join in the human rights conversation, and send us an essay on the topic of:

What do you think is the most important human rights issue in the UK today, and why?

You might like to discuss:

  • The refugee crisis and the treatment of people fleeing war and persecution to seek safety in the UK.
  • The use of powers such as stop-and-search, and laws like Joint Enterprise, and how they affect people.
  • The government's counterterrorism strategy, PREVENT, and its effects on children and young people. 
  • Proposals to change our human rights laws and replace our Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights.
  • The impact of cuts to public services on different parts of society.

However, those are just some suggestions - it's up to you what issue you want to tell us about, as long as you can explain why you chose it. You might also find it useful to look at our guides and factsheets, as well as our blog, if you're looking fo some inspiration.

Competition rules

  • This competition is open to any young person in Year 7 – 11, or aged 11-16 living in the UK.
  • All entries must be received by 9am on March 1 2016.
  • Your essay must be no longer than 750 words, and you must put a word count on your submission.
  • Your essay must be your own original work and not copied from books or articles or any other texts.
  • Your essay must be new.  You cannot submit an essay that has already won a competition or been published somewhere else.
  • You do not have to mention other books or articles in your essay, but if you do you must include a reference in a clear format.
  • Copyright and all other intellectual property rights from the award winning essays will be assigned to The British Institute of Human Rights.  The moral rights of the author will be acknowledged.

Submitting your essay

On the front of your essay, you should make sure that you have included your full name, your age, your word count, and how we can get in touch with you - an email adress or telephone number.

You should send your essay by email to no later than 9am on March 1 2016. Alternatively, you can post your essay to:

Human Rights Prize
The British Institute of Human Rights
School of Law
Queen Mary University of London
Mile End Road
E1 4NS

If you are sending your entry by post you must make sure that it arrives by 9am on March 1 2016.

The winners

We'll be marking your essays with reference to four categories: relevance, reasoning, impact and originality

Two winners will be chosen, one from the Year 7 - Year 9 category, and one from the Year 10 - Year 11 category. The winning entries will be published on our blog, and the winners will receive £50 each in book tokens. If we receive lots of strong entries, we will also choose some runners up.

Good luck! We look forward to reading your entries!