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The 2009 Human Rights Photo Competition for Leica Photographers - Winners Announced
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The 2009 Human Rights Photo Competition for Leica Photographers
The 2009 Human Rights Photo Competition for Leica Photographers

"14 days to Save the World"

<--- See the winners          Visit the gallery -->

(Closed: Deadline for entries was December 10, 2009 at midnight)

The challenge of the "14 Days to Save the World" photo competition 2009 was for Leica photographers from all over the world to illustrate one of the 30 human rights

Winners announced!
This years main winner, Alessandro Durini di Monza, was awarded a certificate "Winner of the 2009 Human Rights Photo Competition for Leica Photographers" and an a gift card from the competion sponsor, B&H Photo Video.

Also see the images awarded the honorable mention at this page.


What are the human rights?

The background for this competition is the human rights. Yes, we all know them, it's ... year, what are they exactly? How many rights are there? Who are they for?
Don't be shy to admit you don't know them by hearth. Here's the short version of them for inspiration and so you can get going with ideas. Further below is a longer story on the human rights and their background.

The 30 human rights in short form, with link to entry page in the gallery:
(Click here for the long form at the United Nations website in English):

01: We Are All Born Free & Equal

02: Don't Discriminate

03: The Right to Life

04: No Slavery

05: No Torture

06: You Have Rights No Matter Where You Go

07: We're All Equal Before the Law

08: Your Human Rights Are Protected by Law

09: No Unfair Detainment

10: The Right to Trial

11: We're Always Innocent Till Proven Guilty

12: The Right to Privacy

13: Freedom to Move

14: The Right to Seek a Safe Place to Live

15: Right to a Nationality

16: Marriage and Family

17: The Right to Your Own Things

18: Freedom of Thought

19: Freedom of Expression

20: The Right to Public Assembly

21: The Right to Democracy

22: Social Security

23: Workers' Rights

24: The Right to Play

25: Food and Shelter for All

26: The Right to Education

27: Copyright

28: A Fair and Free World

29: Responsibility

30: No One Can Take Away Your Human Rights

(Click here for the long form at the United Nations website in English):

The background for human rights

"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights," so says Article 1 in the Declaration of Human Rights. It's an rather important point that it is for all human beings, and that you are born with them. You don't have to register for it, and it doesn't require education or wealth. Even if you're a criminal in prison you still have those rights.

Now, my personal experience with human rights, and one of the reasons I thought of this photo competition, is that claiming ones own human righs are easy. What is the really hard thing to do is to observe others human rights. Let's just take a very simple human right which is the Article 27 that deals with copyright. It is easy to read that when you take a photograph, you are the owner and have rights. The tricky part is to observe that others rights are also respected. Do you allow friends to pirate copy movies? One thing is that it is illegal and a hot issue these days, but could - or should - you do something to observe that right for others? And when some say we should skip copyright on the internet, what should we think about it? And why was it a human right in the first place?

In some countries we consider our self to be well within human rights. But is that so? Well, first thing is to find out what the actual human rights are, next thing is to look around and see how that would apply. When is physical violence an act of torture, and when is mental harrasment an act of torture? Can you force school kids to do home work, can you threathen the canteen lady to serve you more patatoes? What does torture mean and could torturing someone be the greatest good for mankind as some have implied?

Many wars have started because some considered others less worthy
One could say that the Declaration of Human Rights was made in 1948 after two world wars to "end all wars and conflicts" because what it seeks to install is respect and peace. It was adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) of 10 December 1948.

  The Cyrus cylinder from 539 BC is considered to be the first document of human rights

The idea of human rights was not new in 1948. The Cyrus cylinder from 539 BC is considered to be the first document of human rights, created following the Persian conquest of Babylon. In 1215 came Magna Charta (the Great Charter of Freedoms) which was an attempt of the Barons of England to limit the kings powers by law and protect their privileges. And so it goes on with the United States Declaration of Independence of 1776, and Bill of Rights in 1791 and the Geneva Conventions in 1864.

Today all 192 member states of the United Nations have adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and a body of international law exists to protect them. The Declaration remains the central call to freedom and justice for all peoples throughout the world.

Yet although human rights exist, are recognized at least in principle by most nations, and form the heart of many national constitutions, the actual situation in the world is far distant from the ideals envisioned in the Declaration.

Though the Declaration of Human Rights was in place already in 1948, Martin Luther King was marching for them in the sixties. As one example of the fact that just because something has been written down and agreed upon by many nations it doesn't mean that it's a reality from that moment. It takes understanding and work to make human rights a reality!

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights served as the inspiration for the European Convention on Human Rights, one of the most significant agreements in the European Community. The Convention was adopted in 1953 by the Council of Europe, an intergovernmental organization established in 1949 and composed of 47 European Community member states. This body was formed to strengthen human rights and promote democracy and the rule of law.

The Convention is enforced by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France. Any person claiming to be the victim of a violation in one of the 47 countries in the European Community that has signed and ratified the Convention may seek relief with the European Court. One must first have exhausted all recourse in the courts of their home country and have filed an application for relief with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.



As always, feel free to e-mail me at with suggestions, ideas and questions.

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Photo above: Leica M9 with 35mm Summicron-M f/2.0.
By Thorsten Overgaard


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