Savera UK Youth Shortlisted in Nazir Afzal Essay Competition

Savera UK Youth is a runner up in the Nazir Afzal Essay Competition where they entered a 2,500 word essay answering ‘What steps must we take to eliminate harmful traditional practices?

The competition is named after British solicitor and former Chief Crown Prosecutor Nazir Afzal OBE who, during a 24 year career, has prosecuted some of the most high profile cases in the country, and led nationally on numerous legal topics including Violence against Women & Girls, child sexual abuse, and honour based violence. He is also a Savera UK patron. 

The competition was hosted by UCLAN’s Honour Abuse Research Matrix (HARM) and had many submissions including entries from Nigeria, Australia, India, Germany, Estonia, Mauritius, and across the UK.

Led by their Chair Kusqaum Adam and Vice Chair Izzy Rooke-Ley, Savera UK Youth Advisory Board worked together to complete their essay which focused on how young people can be the key to eliminating harmful practices for future generations. The piece looked at the different types of harmful practices and how Savera UK Youth have started to pave the way as young people to campaign for change and eliminate harmful traditions for future generations.

Vice Chair Izzy commented about the short-listing: “I am very invested in eradicating harmful practices that are sugar coated as religious or cultural obligations, but that actually are simply unjustifiable violations of human rights. 

For Savera Youth, everyday is an investment in #speakingout against practices such as FGM, “honour”-based abuse and forced marriage— in the hope of eradicating them— and the Nazir Essay was a constituent part of this investment.”

The winner of the Nazir Afzal Essay Competition was Mariel McKone Leonard who titled their essay as ‘Not ‘them’,‘us’: The necessity of recognizing ‘harmful traditional practices’ in all communities’. The other shortlisted essay was from Dr Hannah Begum.

In choosing the winner, Nazir said: “We as a whole community, as a whole nation, as a whole country, as a whole world, need to respond. It shouldn’t be seen as an issue just for them—it should be seen as an issue for everybody.

“The winning entry deliberately and utterly focuses on the ‘them’ and ‘us’ attitude and the response that we need to make in order for us to tackle this. This made me especially proud.”

You can read the Savera UK Youth essay here.