Islamabad, 10 December 2019: The 5th edition of the “Human Rights Reel- Film Festival concludes marking the Human Rights Day (HRD) in Islamabad. The closing ceremony of the festival and commemoration of the HRD was co-organised by the Embassy of Switzerland and United Nations in Pakistan. The theme of this year’s HRD was “Youth Standing Up for Human Rights”.
The objective of the film festival was to amplify the importance and enhance knowledge about the universality and diversified nature of the human rights issues among Pakistani audience especially the Youth through the creative medium of films.
H.E, Thomas Kolly, Ambassador of Switzerland to Pakistan said in his welcome remarks: “Human rights stand at the core of Swiss values and are based on the democratic principles of non-discrimination, gender equality, peaceful coexistence and mutual respect between different population groups. Advocacy for the universal, interdependent and indivisible character of human rights is need of the hour. As responsible state actors, it is our shared duty to comply with the international obligations and international agreements such as the UN agenda 2030 for sustainable development goals.”
Mr. Ignacio Artaza, Resident Representative a.i., UNDP focused on youth in his opening remarks. He said: ‘With 68% of Pakistanis under the age of 30, Pakistan is one of the youngest countries in the world. They are the driving force of the country and need to be supported in the building of a future where everyone’s rights are respected. This is why youth is one of the main focuses of the UN here in Pakistan.’
Ms. Rabia Javeri Agha, Secretary, Ministry for Human Rights, who attended the event as the chief guest congratulated the United Nations, Swiss Embassy, European Union Delegation to Pakistan and all partners for successfully advocating and supporting the human rights through the film festival. In her remarks she said that films are unique tools of telling the stories. Young people should derive inspirations from these stories, as well as from the positive developments made by Pakistan about safeguarding the human rights in the country.
The participants attentively watched stunning investigative film, Dick Marty, a Scream for Justice. The Director of the film Fulvio Bernasconi, who was also invited to participate in the event built the story of the film on a breathless investigation and the portrait of a quite extraordinary man. The story was based on a case when the CIA (after 11 Sep 2001) signed a secret agreement with several European States that allowed them kidnapping and torture of suspected Islamists. The case was revealed by the Washington Post in 2005 and the Council of Europe mandates Swiss citizen, Dick Marty to lead the investigation. With minimal means but armed with formidable tenacity, Marty defied America, Europe and Switzerland.
The screening was followed by an interactive moderated panel discussion among the Youth and experts on law, justice and human rights. The panellists included: Fulvio Bernasconi, Director of film, “Dick Marty, a Scream for Justice”; Sibah Farooq, Senior Partner at S & S Law Associates and Kamran Rajar, Director-General of the Ministry of Human Rights.
The festival toured through 10 cities in Pakistan including Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Gujrat, Karachi, Quetta, Peshawar, Mardan, Multan and Faisalabad from 1-10 December 2019.
We pay our profound gratitude to the European Union Delegation to Pakistan, EU and UN member states and diplomatic missions, as well as the cultural, govt. and educational institutions for their solid partnership in making the 5th edition of the film festival a tremendous success.
The films and documentaries screened in the film festival showed multicultural dimensions of the human rights challenges faced by people from across the globe. We hope that these films and thematic debate sessions have helped people, particularly Youth to understand diversity and the universality of the human rights issues and have guided them ways to take actions in support of the human rights for themselves and for everyone.