Rights of Passage

2005 Competition

Human Writes - essay compRights In Perspective - art comp

Young People and Human Rights - A National Dialogue

In April this year, I launched a new project which I described as a 'national dialogue' with young people on human rights. Talking to young people around the country, I've been finding out what kinds of things matter to you - the hopes, fears, frustrations and inspirations you encounter as young Australians today.

Dr Sev Ozdowski in discussion with students from Smith's Hill High School, Wollongong, NSW
Human Rights Commissioner Dr Sev Ozdowski
launches 'Rights of Passage' in Sydney.
Dr Sev Ozdowski with students from Rostrevor College, Adelaide, SA
Holroyd High School Principal Dorothy Hoddinott
speaking at the launch of 'Rights of Passage'.


What are human rights? Are there, or should there be, different rights for young people? Do you ever face any sort of discrimination? Do people take your opinions into account on issues that affect you? These are the kinds of questions we'd like to know the answers to.

We also collected the results of a national survey on the same topics, sending out over 1000 surveys to young people in 23 schools and youth centres nationwide.

The 'Human Writes' personal essay competition and the 'Rights in Perspective' art competition were also part of this national dialogue. This was an opportunity for those of you with an artistic or literary inclination to share your thoughts and feelings on these topics.

Your response was fantastic, with essays and artworks coming in from all over Australia. A shortlist of the most diverse and original entries was selected, from which the winners were chosen. Click on the competition pages to read the essays and view the artworks on this shortlist.

Winners were announced on 29 November 2005 at the launch of the publication Rights of Passage: A Dialogue with Young Australians about Human Rights.

Thanks to all the young people and their mentors; teachers, parents and all others who have made this project possible.

Dr Sev Ozdowski OAM
Human Rights Commissioner
A/g Disability Discrimination Commissioner