“Social media: friend or foe of human rights?” – René Cassin essay competition now open

The human rights charity René Cassin’s annual ‘Human Writes’ essay competition is now open. This year’s title is “Social media: friend or foe of human rights?”

Social media gives activists a platform for mobilisation. It enables them to hold public officials to account. A campaign can be launched with a few characters and the click of a “post” button.

But it also exposes people to risks. 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?

Every year René Cassin runs this competition to get people thinking about key human rights issues.

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 (along with other shortlisted entries)
  • 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 11 November 2019, 12 noon. Winners announced early December.

Further information and enquiries

For full guidelines, see www.renecassin.org/rene-cassins-2019-human-writes-essay-competition-now-open/

Please email us at info@renecassin.org if you have any queries about this competition