On 11 December 2013, in the premises of the Mari El Republic Constitutional Court, winners of the regional contest «I am a human. I have rights» received their prizes. The Mari El regional branch of the Committee Against Torture took active part in arranging this contest among students of educational establishments. It was devoted to the Russian Constitution’s 20th anniversary.
This is the first time the contest has been held in the Republic of Mari El. It was initiated by human rights ombudsperson for the region Irina Tatarinova. The event was arranged by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Mari El Republic, the Ministry of Justice of the Republic, Mari El State University, Regional NGO «Man and Law», and the Interregional NGO «Committee Against Torture».
Participants aged from six to eighteen were offered three categories. The youngest ones submitted paintings illustrating articles from the second chapter of the Constitution. Kids from fifth to ninth grades prepared illustrations and essays on school rules and regulations which they consider crucial to ensure that rights and freedoms are not violated at school. Senior secondary school and professional education students submitted essays «Human Rights in Educational Establishment».
The Jury chose fifteen best works among more than eight hundred.
Lawyers of the CAT Mari El regional branch additionally awarded Katya Ivanova, a first year elementary student of special boarding-school, a special prise for her drawing showing the fundamental importance of respect for human rights on the part of law enforcement agents.
«We were pleasantly surprised by the number of participants and their interest in the Constitution. I hope that this first acquaintance with it is going to help them realize the value of human rights and freedoms, and assert their rights in the future. Despite being the first experience of the kind, the event went wonderfully. I would thank our regional ombudsperson Irina Tatarinova who invented that joyful way of introducing the Constitution to children», says the Head of Mari El regional branch of the Committee Against Torture Dmitry Egoshin.