Photo Source: La Fondation René Cassin
Today, the René Cassin European Human Rights Competition is the oldest and most prestigious francophone oral hearing competition in Europe, which is based on the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Each year it provides a unique opportunity for participating students not only to demonstrate university knowledge in public speaking at the European Court of Human Rights, but to get into the spirit of human rights protection as well, to become “fighters for human rights”, as R. Cassin desired.
René Cassin was born on October 5, 1887 in Bayonne. He was a French lawyer, diplomat and politician, who devoted himself to the protection and promotion of human rights.
He participated in the work of the UN Commission on Human Rights and was one of the drafters of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with Eleanor Roosevelt. Since 1959, he served as a judge in the European Court of Human Rights and became its president from 1965 to 1968 after the first president of the court Lord McNair, Mr Arnold Duncan.
On October 10, 1968 René Cassin won the Nobel Peace Prize. The following year he created the International Institute for Human Rights, an association that he would like to see contributing to the promotion and protection of human rights through education and research.
René Cassin died on February 20, 1976 in Paris at the age of 89.
The René Cassin competition is supported by the University of Strasbourg, the René Cassin Foundation – International Institute on Human Rights, the European Court of Human Rights and the Council of Europe.
The René Cassin competition was first organized in 1985 by the French association Juris Ludi, created by a group of Strasbourg students supported by professors Denis Simon and Christian Mestre.
The Republic of Belarus was first presented at the competition in 2017 by the team of students from the Faculty of International Relations of BSU. Since then, the practice of participation of the BSU team in the international competition has been preserved. Every year students of the Faculty of International Relations of BSU, who study international law and international relations, take part in the competitive selection, on the basis of which the Council of Europe experts form a team to participate in the written and oral stages of the competition.
In 2017, the BSU team honorably presented its position in the oral rounds in Strasbourg and took 6th place together with the University of Limoges (France) in the semi-final of the René Cassin competition.
In 2020, due to COVID-19, the oral rounds were cancelled. The results of the competition were summed up based on the results of written works evaluation. The students showed a high level of preparation, responsibility, hard work and determination, which allowed them to achieve good results, despite the highest level of competition – the BSU team took the 6th place together with the University of St. Louis Brussels (Belgium). It is worth noting that in 2017 and 2020 the BSU team showed the best result among the participating teams that speak French as a foreign language.