Posts Tagged ‘film portraits’

The link to the full MEA 2015 ceremony of 6 October

October 7, 2015

Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders

Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders

For those who missed this impressive ceremony of the 2015 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders last night, here is the link to the full 1h40 event, including the surprise appearance by Laureate Ahmed Mansoor via the internet. The films and streaming were provided by True Heroes Films.

Thai journalist Pravit Rojanaphruk about (self)censorship under the junta

June 19, 2015

On 26 May 2015, at the 2015 Oslo Freedom Forum, Thai journalist Pravit Rojanaphruk describes his fight for democracy in his home country following the May 2014 military coup. Talking about his own arrest, Rojanaphruk denounces the limitations to the right to assembly, expression and movement in Thailand, as well as the regime’s efforts to build the illusion of a happy Thailand. Rojanaphruk concludes his presentation by reminding us that tolerance and dialogue are essential if Thailand is to become a democracy again.

for more on Thailand: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/tag/thailand/

Tunisian human rights defender Amira Yahyaoui talks about importance of women and youth

June 18, 2015

At the 2015 Oslo Freedom Forum, on 27 May 2015, Tunisian human rights defender Amira Yahyaoui talks about the global youth as an underrepresented force in many governments. She draws attention to the fact that while the world’s citizenry is increasingly young, the global leadership remains old. She criticizes the lack of representation of women and youth by reminding us that these so-called “minorities” are, in fact, majorities in the world population. If we don’t fix this problem, she argues, more and more young people will be driven to extremist groups like the Islamic State where they are given the opportunity to lead.

UNHCR launches 2015 World Refugee Day with celebrity support

June 17, 2015

For World Refugee Day 2015 (20 June) the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [UNHCR] has released several films featuring celebrity supporters that tell the human side of the refugee plight. This years’ campaign aims to bring the public closer to the story, showing refugees as ordinary people living in extraordinary circumstances. World Refugee Day 2015 is marked against a backdrop of multiple conflicts, growing numbers of forcibly displaced people and a rising tide of intolerance and xenophobia in many parts of the world.

The films feature UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador and best-selling author, Khaled Hosseini, photographer and supermodel Helena Christensen, singer/songwriter Maher Zain and actor Jung Woo-Sung . The films were recorded during recent field visits. Each supporter introduces an individual refugee and their story. These films and other refugee stories can be found on UNHCR’s Campaign website: www.refugeeday.org.

UNHCR offices in some 120 countries are planning various events including the film première of Salam Neighbor in Washington D.C.

 

The site www.refugeeday.org features stories from refugees who describe in their own words their own passions and interests; cooking, music, poetry, or sports. Through their testimonials UNHCR aims to show that these are ordinary people living through extraordinary times.

via UNHCR – UNHCR launches its 2015 World Refugee Day Campaign.

Lessons from the Pinochet regime by Andrés Velasco

June 2, 2015

At the 2015 Oslo Freedom Forum on 26 May Chilean economist, Andrés Velasco, in highly personal account describes how political, economic, and social unrest led to the collapse of Chilean democracy in the 1970s. Growing up under Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship, Velasco is familiar with stories of political prisoners, torture, intimidation, and exile. Velasco argues that the extreme brutality of the military dictatorship became too difficult for most Chileans to face, allowing the violence to continue unhindered. As Velasco reminds us, however, Chilean civil society eventually united behind an incredibly creative political campaign, and succeeded in voting Pinochet out of power. Velasco ends his speech on an optimistic note, arguing that the common sense of Chileans will prevent another democratic collapse.

Democracy activist Nurul Izzah Anwar talks about Malaysia

May 31, 2015

On 26 May 2015, Nurul Izzah Anwar, Malaysian MP and daughter of imprisoned opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, spoke at the Oslo Freedom Forum. In this video he describes how she was drawn into the opposition movement in Malaysia. She tells us about rampant government corruption, the country’s defunct judicial system, and how the government targets dissidents and attempts to limit change. Anwar explains how the lack of genuine parliamentary immunity prevents Malaysian politicians from speaking against the government. She reminds us that “Malaysia’s most wanted” are the activists that challenge the government, and expresses the hope that Malaysia’s future belongs to those seeking a more democratic and fair country.

Charlie Hebdo columnist Zineb El Rhazoui at the Oslo Freedom Forum

May 30, 2015

Another speaker at the Oslo Freedom Forum (OFF) 2015 was Charlie Hebdo columnist, Zineb El Rhazoui, who paid tribute to her colleagues slain in the January 2015 attacks [she was at the time of the attack abroad] and describes her own experience facing thousands of death threats. In her passionate defense of free speech, El Rhazoui argues that criticism of religion should be encouraged, not avoided. The personal touch in her presentation is moving.

North Korean defector Ji Seong-ho in video talk

May 29, 2015

The 2015 Oslo Freedom Forum which was held this week featured more than 30 speakers from around the world, mostly human rights defenders with a story to tell. I will include over the coming days a selection of their videos. The first is: “My Impossible Escape from North Korea” A talk by North Korean defector Ji Seong-ho describing his extraordinary 6,000 mile journey to freedom. Ji survived being struck by a coal train and losing his hand and foot to a grueling amputation, and now helps other defectors escape.

For more posts on North Korea: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/tag/north-korea/

Don’t miss the High Commissioner’s words at MEA 2014 ceremony

October 10, 2014

The ceremony of the Martin Ennals Award 2014 is over (7 October 2014). It was again very impressive to hear and see 3 courageous Human Rights Defenders being honored. Some 450 people (my estimate) gave standing ovations to the 3 nominees whose work was shown in impressive films produced for the occasion. The film portraits are already available on the website: http://www.martinennalsaward.org where there is also a short summary of the whole evening.

Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders

Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders

Especially the film on Chinese HRD Cao Shunli is a masterpiece given that the film makers had almost no images to work with due to the modesty of the human rights defender as well as her untimely death in detention only 2 days after her nomination in March 2014.

The internet has buzzed with congratulations and encouragements to the other two nominees, Adilur from Bangladesh and Alejandra Ancheita from Mexico. The latter became ultimately the Laureate [see https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/breaking-news-alejandra-ancheita-is-the-2014-mea-laureate/#more-5648 ].

One of the nicest surprises was the address by Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights at one of his first public appearances outside the UN. UN HCHR Al Hussein The High Commissioner gave a moving and almost poetic description of the sorry state of affairs left to human rights defenders to correct: He said inter alia: Read the rest of this entry »

Victims become human rights defenders against Female Genital Mutilation

March 29, 2014

On 7 March 2014 UNHCR published a series of 6 videos on female genital mutilation (FGM), Too Much Pain, with stories of refugee women who have undergone FGM and have become human rights defenders engaged to end this practice. These women explain their experiences of flight, asylum and integration in the EU. These video clips deserve much wider recognition.

In Part 1, refugee women talk about why they had to flee because of their commitment to end the practice. The other videos explain that FGM is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. The practice also violates a person’s rights to health and physical integrity; the right to be free from torture and other rights. FGM is harmful not cultural; it has life-long consequences and can be a ground for asylum. (See all videos: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLtPw-Y91GlmWvO9wxMUW-Ey3eMY2vwWYZ )

This video complements the UNHCR publication Too Much Pain: Female Genital Mutilation & Asylum in the European Union – A Statistical Overview, and updated in March 2014 (see here: http://goo.gl/lDnCRJ).