Lauren seeks human rights report award

A BUDDING journalist from Mirfield is in the running for a major human rights news reporting award.

Lauren Wilks, 24, has been nominated for the Amnesty International award for an article about forced marriage in Pakistan.

The University of Edinburgh sociology student faces competition from nine rivals for The Observer-backed honour.

Human rights news reporting is one of the fields at the Amnesty International Student Media Awards, which take place in London on June 11.

Lauren, of Calder Road, said: “It’s a brilliant competition and a great opportunity for bringing important human rights issues to the fore.”

She had to write an article of up to 2,000 words, an extract of which is re-printed below by kind permission.

It details the life of Tehmina, a woman who fled to Britain to escape a forced marriage in which she was beaten daily by her husband.

Lauren could win work experience at The Observer and a fellowship with the US-based Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting.

The fellowship is a travel grant to cover an under-reported issue. Previous winners have gone to places including Ethiopia and Argentina.

Kate Allen, director of Amnesty International UK, said: “Journalism has always played a key part in exposing abuses across the globe.

“We hope this award helps inspire the students of today to be the human rights journalists of the future.”

An extract from Forgotten Brides: Life after Forced Marriage, by Lauren Wilks:

After escaping, Tehmina was rejected by almost all of her family members. While her father remained sympathetic, he told her that she and her daughter no longer had a life in Pakistan.

She received death threats from her brothers and the police ignored her cry for help, saying it was her ‘own matter’.

“The situation in Pakistan is very difficult,” Tehmina explained. “It’s impossible to live as a single woman or single mother… honour killings are everywhere.”

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