A presentation ceremony was held yesterday at the Office of the Ombudsman/N.H.R.I to award the winners of the National Freedom of Expression Competition and also Samoa’s winning entry at the Global Freedom poster competition in Geneva.
The national competition was run locally by the Office of the Ombudsman/N.H.R.I as part of its human rights day activity last year in collaboration with the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (O.H.C.H.R) Pacific regional office.
The global competition is part of the O.H.C.H.R’s 50th Anniversary celebration of the two core human rights treaties the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (I.C.C.P.R) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (I.C.E.S.C.R).
For the national competition, Alexandria Slaven 11 years old of Vaiala Beach Primary School won the 5-11 Age Group Category and Quenjule Slaven won the 12-18 Age Group Category. These two young ladies posters were sent to Geneva to compete in the Global Freedom Poster competition.
O.H.C.H.R in Geneva announced the two winners of a global poster contest for children, and our very own Alexandria Slaven was announced the winner of the 5-11 age group category with Pakistan winning the 12-18 age group category. Alexandria Slaven’s poster which illustrates how freedom comes with responsibilities was selected from local entries to represent Samoa in the primary category for the global competition in Geneva creating an exciting put on a map moment for Samoa by winning her category.
Alexandria Slaven’s poster depicts 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.”
“It is really exciting for Samoa to come out on top in this competition because it shows to the world that our very young people have a clearer understanding of human rights than we think...and if we all adopt Alexandria Slaven’s perception on human rights we would be able to better understand the value of human rights and apply it to our everyday life,” said Ombudsman Maiava Iulai Toma.
Acting Head of the O.H.C.H.R Pacific Regional office in Suva, Ms Catherine Phuong was delighted that one of the global winners came from the region, saying: “It is a fantastic achievement for Alexandria and reflects a growing awareness and understanding of human rights in the region.”
UN Resident Coordinator, Lizbeth Cullity, pointed out: “It is impressive to see how this young girl recognizes the importance of relating human rights to responsibilities and also the way she underscores, in her illustration, the freedom of choice.”
Samoa is party to many of the core international human rights instruments which includes the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (I.C.C.P.R). Samoa acceded to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) (I.C.C.P.R) in February 2008.
The two winners of the national competition received a certificate from the Office of the Ombudsman and a $250 voucher generously sponsored by S.S.A.B.
As the winner of the Global Freedom Competition, Alexandria received a $100 prize donated by the Ombudsman, a U.N.D.P goody bag and a ride for her and a family member in Samoa’s brand new helicopter service sponsored by the O.H.C.H.R Pacific Regional office.