UNJUST, film about women rights defenders, receives award at Movies that Matter film festival

April 13, 2011

This blog has a special interest in HRDs and films. Therefore the following is highlighted:

The jury at the Movies that Matter Festival, which was held in The Hague from March 24 to 31, awarded Suciwati Munir, Angkhana Neelaphaijit and Padma Perera, a Special Jury Award for Josefina Bergsten’s film “UNJUST”. The film documents the struggles of the three wives, mothers and activists to challenge impunity and get justice for their husbands, all of who lost their lives in 2004 due to the murderous intentions of state agents. “Through this film, three women who have seen the worst aspects of their countries’ justice systems have helped the world to understand what it means to be living in these sorts of conditions,” said Basil Fernando, of the Asian Human Rights Commission. His Hong Kong-based regional rights group had already in July 2010 given the film its Asian Human Rights Award for Creative Media.

Suciwati’s husband, Indonesian human rights lawyer Munir, was poisoned on a Garuda Airlines flight in 2004 while travelling from Indonesia to study abroad. A former pilot and former head of the airline were implicated in the murder, and the pilot given a 20-year jail sentence. However, the trail of connections to his killing has led back to the Indonesian secret services, and the masterminds have never been identified.  A five-minute video profile of Suciwati is available on the website: http://www.moviesthatmatterfestival.nl/english_index/nieuws_en/news/169

Thai police abducted Angkhana’s husband, Somchai, from his car on a street in Bangkok. Although five police went on trial, only one was convicted of a minor offence. He has himself disappeared, and an appeal court recently overturned his conviction. All the police are still serving. Angkhana has since set up an organization to work for the victims of enforced disappearances in Thailand, and is now among the country’s best known human rights defenders. In 2006 she was a joint recipient of the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights.

Padma’s husband Gerard was a victim of police torture in Sri Lanka who became an outspoken and fearless advocate of human rights. Gunmen connected to the police shot him as he travelled on a public bus, shortly before he was going to depose in court against the officers who were accused of torturing him. The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka has honoured Padma with an award for the struggle that she has undertaken since to get justice for her husband and to promote human rights in her country.
Persons wishing to obtain copies of “UNJUST” may contact the filmmaker, Josefina Bergsten, at josefina.bergsten@gmail.com.

One Response to “UNJUST, film about women rights defenders, receives award at Movies that Matter film festival”

  1. Alexandra Bisia Says:

    It looks very interesting…

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