Islamabad, December 10, 2018 (PPI-OT): The fourth edition of the Film Festival “Human Rights through Cinematography”, marking the 70 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights concluded in Islamabad on the Human Rights Day today. The closing ceremony was jointly organized by the United Nations in Pakistan and the Embassy of Switzerland in Pakistan. The objective of the film festival was to deepen among Pakistani audience especially the Youth the knowledge about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and human rights challenges people are facing in different corners of the world.
Starting on 25 November, the film festival presented 27 documentaries from all around the world on various human rights related, featuring themes like freedom of expression, gender equality, minority rights, access to justice and death penalty. Presentations took place in 9 cities in Pakistan including Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Gujrat, Multan, Karachi, Quetta, Peshawar and Charsadda.
Screenings were followed by discussion sessions with film makers, journalists, government and civil society representatives as well as human rights defenders who shared with participants, including universities and schools’ students their views about human rights violations and the ways how they could be solved.
Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of Switzerland, Bernhard Furger said in his opening remarks: “This 4th edition of the “Human Rights Film Festival” – highlighting human right issues from around the world is using cinematography as a catalyst for thought provoking conversations and ideas that address human rights concerns our world faces today. Switzerland is proud to be a part of this festival that has such social, artistic and popular appeal in Pakistan especially among the youth of this country.”
He emphasizes that universal human rights, properly understood, leave considerable space for national, regional, cultural particularity and other forms of diversity and relativity. For the foreseeable future, human rights will remain a vital element in national, international, and transnational struggles for social justice and human dignity.
In his remarks, Neil Buhne, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Pakistan highlighted that “The UDHR was signed 70 years ago by 48 countries including Pakistan. It was a key document then, and it has become a foundation document underpinning all international human rights law, and an inspiration for countries, people and international organizations to protect people’s rights including through developing institutions and laws. These rights are universal. But each country faces challenges in protecting them.
“The films and documentaries screened during the film festival have shown how diverse these challenges are. I hope they have helped the people, particularly the Youth to better understand the diversity and universality of human rights issues around the world and have also shown ways to take actions in support of the human rights for us and for everyone.” he added.
Rabia Javeri Agha, Secretary, Ministry for Human Rights graced the event with her presence as chief guest and thanked the organizers for the innovative way of successfully advocating for and supporting the human rights through the thematic films.
A Swiss film “The Divine Order” on the issue of women’s empowerment and their struggle for the right of vote has been screened. Presentation was followed by a panel discussion with the experts and human rights defenders including: Meraj Humayun, Former Chairperson Women Parliamentary Caucus in KP Assembly; Chaudhry Muhammad Shafiq, National Commissioner/ Member National Commission of Human Rights; Dr. Farzana Bari, Chair Gender Studies Quaid-i-Azam University; Aisha Mukhtar, Deputy Country Representative UN Women, Pakistan and Malik Kamran, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Human Rights.
The film festival has been organized in partnership with the Delegation of the European Union, United Nations in Pakistan, diplomatic missions of Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland as well as the Forum for Human Rights, Goethe-Institute, Pakistan National Council of Arts, The Centaurus Cineplex, OLOMOPOLO Media and the Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services.
The organizers would also like to express a special thanks to all the young volunteers – students of the universities in Islamabad and Rawalpindi for their dedicated support in engaging the Youth and valuable support of the organizing of the screenings. These universities include: Arid Agriculture University, Bahria University, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Fatima Jinnah Women University, Foundation University, International Islamic University, IQRA University, Lahore Crammer School, National Defense University, National University of Modern Languages, National University of Science and Technology, Preston University, Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad, The Institute of Legal Studies , the Millennium University Collage and My University.
A very high value is also having the cooperation with the University of Gujrat, Habib University, University of Swat, Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan, University of Baluchistan, Bahauddin Zakariya University Multan, University of Peshawar, Institute of Business Administration Karachi, UMT School of Law and Policy, National College of Arts and University of Punjab in Lahore and Fatima Jinnah Women University in Rawalpindi. And finally, thanks to the team of the United Nations Information Centre for its relentless support during the whole Film Festival.
For more information, contact:
National Information Officer
United Nations Information Centre (UNIC)