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Call for entries: Justice Seen Award






Justice Seen Award

Syrian British Consortium - The investigations team


Concept

The Justice Seen Award promotes and recognises effective communication on justice and accountability issues, particularly related to human rights in Syria, in the belief that visibility is key to bringing accountability, and key to effective judicial responses.


The first Justice Seen Award will be given for a student-made social media video responding to our investigation into human rights violations by the National Union of Syrian Students (NUSS) against students on university campuses. 



Brief

The work

Create a film between thirty seconds and two minutes, zero budget, publicly shareable on social media.


Subject

The role of the National Union of Syrian Students (NUSS) in the detention and torture of students in Syria, remembering the victims and demanding accountability. 


 Prize

£300 cash prize for the most outstanding film. All qualifying entries will be recognised for their contribution.


Entry and Deadline

  1. To qualify please register your interest by emailing: investigations@syrianbritish.org

 no later than the 17th of June 2024.

  1. Share your film on social media where other students and the wider public can watch it, the film should be posted between the 17th of June and the 24th of June 2024, with the hashtag #JusticeSeen, #NUSS and #Syria

  2. Submit your entry via emailing: investigations@syrianbritish.org, no later than the 24th of June 2024 with a link to your film shared on social media. 

  3. You must include the names of your team members, and the role of each team member making the film, and details of each team member’s current study: course, year, and educational institution. 

  4. You must include a separate link for a downloadable file of your film. 

  5. Please include a short paragraph explaining the thinking behind your video, no longer than eighty words.

  6. You must confirm that the film is all your own work, including the soundtrack.

The issue

Imagine you are a student in a university in Syria. 


Imagine your actions, movements and speech are policed and monitored by armed NUSS student union members who are empowered to suppress you and silence you. 


They are free to use campus facilities to detain you, interrogate you, and torture you. 


Your teachers and professors have no control over them and fear them. 


They work with the Assad regime’s secret police, and they can send you to be disappeared, tortured, or even killed.


Some of the things that can make you a target for the NUSS include: 

  • Taking part in a protest or a vigil.

  • Sharing your opinions and thoughts on social media. 

  • Sharing a post someone else posted on social media. 

  • Discussing politics with other students.

  • Being a member of an unauthorised club, voluntary group, or a political movement. 

  • Coming from an area that is demonstrating against the Syrian regime. 

  • Having a family member who is opposing the Syrian regime or wanted by its forces. 


This is what students lived through during Syria’s 2011 uprising to demand democracy and freedom. 

Our investigation: 

Our year-long investigation of the National Union of Syrian Students (NUSS) has focused on the years 2011-2013. It reveals how the NUSS fulfilled a general surveillance role even prior to the outbreak of conflict in Syria. In 2011, the NUSS assumed additional roles on university campuses to stifle anti-regime sentiment, including patrolling university grounds for anti-regime activity, clamping down against nonviolent student activity, arresting and torturing students, and handing students over to security services. 


​​Witness testimony confirms extensive cooperation and coordination between the NUSS and Syrian state security services, indicating that NUSS crimes were not committed in isolation, but rather as part of the nationwide Syrian regime crackdown against calls for freedom and democracy which began in March 2011.

 

  • Any questions? Please email us to learn more. 

  • The unpublished investigation report can be shared upon request. 


Our track record

Our team was awarded the Judith Lee Stronach Award for human rights defenders in April 2023 for our investigation into the August 2012 Daraya massacre. The investigation was covered by at least sixteen media outlets around the world including The Guardian, BBC News, Der Speigel, and Al Jazeera. For our legal skills, cultural and bilingual expertise, and trusted links to communities across Syria, our investigative and analytical work product has also been called upon and/or used within the Mzaik v. Syria case as well as the FBI’s investigation into torture in Syria. 


To qualify

  1. You can enter as an individual or as a team. All entrants must be studying in the UK.

  2. Your film must be zero budget, made with equipment and materials you have to hand.

  3. Your film must be all your own work, including the sou ndtrack.

  4. Your film must be true to the subject, and aim to engage and inform audiences about the issue. 

  5. Your film must include reference to Syria and NUSS violations. Your film may also tell of the experiences of survivors, or memorialise victims, and it can include a call to action for accountability and justice.

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