Samoa’s Slaven wins U.N. contest

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Alexandria Slaven.

Alexandria Slaven.

The U.N Human Rights Office has announced the two winners of a poster contest for children to illustrate what freedom means to them.  

The competition is part of a year-long campaign by the Office to mark the 50th anniversary of two core human rights treaties, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.    

Alexandria Slaven, 11, from Samoa is the winner of the 5 to 11 age group with a picture depicting people holding hands and standing by a luxuriant coconut tree.

“My poster illustrates how freedom comes with responsibilities and children and adults should understand this,” Alexandria wrote to explain the design.  “The growing coconut tree with various rights and freedoms written on it symbolizes the growth of a person.”

Winner of the 12-18 age group is 15-year-old Eiza Abid from Pakistan, whose illustration uses both dark tones and bright colours to represent freedom of thought. 

“My painting personifies the darkness and confinement within a person’s life and once the person is set free from the pressures and judgement of others, one can freely express their thoughts and imagination in their true colors, illustrating their unique vision and bright outlook,” Eiza wrote.

Alexandria and Eiza’s designs, which will be made into posters for use during the campaign, were selected from the winners of local U.N competitions organized in seven countries - Armenia, Burundi, Fiji, Madagascar, Pakistan, Samoa and Tunisia. All the winning entries can be viewed online on the campaign website: http://2covenants.ohchr.org/poster-gallery.html

SLAVEN EXPLAINS: My poster illustrates the idea that Freedom comes with Responsibilities and children and adults should understand this. Freedom of choice and freedom of speech doesn’t mean it gives us all the right to say whatever we want but we must do so with responsibility. The growing coconut tree with various rights and freedoms written on it symbolizes the growth of a person. Without these basic freedoms and rights, a person can’t grow properly and in great health. Every human being shall be granted these freedoms and rights so that they can grow up and bear great fruits such as this coconut. - Alexandria Slaven.

“It is so important to have children celebrating the 50th anniversary of the human rights Covenants through this poster competition,” said Fabian Salvioli, Chair of the Human Rights Committee which monitors how States parties are implementing the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. 

“For the Covenants to continue to have meaning over the next 50 years, children must be aware of their rights and the importance of the Covenants to their lives and happiness,” he said.

 “I am impressed by the dedication and resourcefulness of the winners and the quality of the posters that they submitted for the competition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the human rights Covenants,” said Waleed Sadi, Chair of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which monitors States parties’ implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. 

“The Covenants are more than legal treaties - they have meaning and significance for all peoples and day-to-day life.  By turning rights into pictures, this would help us understand and appreciate even more the Covenants and their relevance to all. Our thanks and congratulations to everyone who took part,” said Mr Sadi.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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