Posts Tagged ‘multimedia’

‘Lost Childhoods’ – an interactive graphic novel exposing child abuse in Nigeria – awarded at BAFTA

June 20, 2019

Journalist-photographer Marc Ellison receiving the award in London on Monday evening [One Media World]
Journalist-photographer Marc Ellison receiving the award in London on Monday evening [One Media World]

The winning entry – Lost Childhoods: How Nigeria’s Fear of Child ‘Witchcraft’ Ruins Young Lives – was praised on Monday for its interactive investigation into the practice of branding children and young adolescents as “witches”. “Combining graphic novel imagery with film, this highly accessible piece effectively covers a major human rights issue,” One World Media organisers said from the awards gala at London’s British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA).

Blamed for family illness, sudden financial loss or other misfortunes, the children are often beaten, locked into cages, branded with hot knives or made to undergo costly “exorcisms” performed by so-called “prophets” in local churches. With little choice but to flee, many children end up as drug addicts and living in rubbish dumps or on the streets.

AJLabs teamed up with journalist-photographer Marc Ellison and Nigerian illustrator Samuel Iwunze to unearth the facts of this under-reported story. Working meticulously with local fixers, NGOs and child psychologists, Ellison was able to expose the practice that has taken hold in parts of the Niger Delta and that has partially been fuelled by myths propagated by the Nigerian film industry.

Lost Childhoods employs a mix of visual and textual formats, including comic/graphic novel illustrations to preserve anonymity and portray past events. Carlos Van Meek, Al Jazeera’s director of Digital Innovation and Programming, said, “This story, in particular, is a skilful weave of investigations, videos, photos and illustrations that brings to light disturbing physical, emotional and religious abuse against children. Our goal is – and always will be – to make an impact that leads to positive change at the local and international level.”

As further testament to the production, AJLabs worked with NGOs to translate the graphic novel into local languages for distribution within communities, schools and churches in Nigeria, in an attempt to educate people and end the practice of scapegoating innocent children and branding them as witches.

Nigeria witchcraft

Cambodian MEA Laureate 2012 Luon Sovath charged with incitement

November 5, 2014

 
cambodia-luon-sovath-award-oct-2012.jpg

(Luon Sovath after receiving the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders in Geneva on 2 October 2012; left myself.  AFP)
 On 4 November Radio Free Asia (RFA) reports that two outspoken critics of Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen are called to court this month on vague charges of “incitement to commit a crime,” but the defendants say they have done nothing illegal. It concerns the human rights defender and monk Luon Sovath (MEA Laureate 2012) and dissident Sourn Serey Ratha (based in the USA). They received summons dated 22 October (!) signed by Phnom Penh Municipal Court deputy prosecutor Meas Chanpeseth accusing then of “incitement to commit crimes in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and abroad” in 2011, under Penal Code article 495, but the summonses, which ordered the two men to appear in court together in the capital on 25 November, do not specify what crimes they had incited or how their cases were linked.

[Under the Penal Code, incitement is vaguely defined in article 495 as directly provoking the commission of a crime or an act that creates “serious turmoil in society” through public speech, writings or drawings, or audio-visual telecommunication. Luon Sovath faces up to five years in prison if convicted, while Sourn Serey Ratha faces a total maximum punishment of 15 years.]

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And more about other human rights film festivals in developing countries

June 6, 2013

ALGERIA – WESTERN SAHARA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

The Western Sahara International Film Festival (FiSahara) is an annual event that uses film to entertain and empower Sahrawi refugees and to raise international awareness about a forgotten crisis. From 7 to 13 October 2013, the 10th edition of the festival takes place in Dakhla, the most remote of the refugee camps in Southwestern Algeria. In close coöperation with the local NGO Polisario, FiSahara shows 28 different films on two screens. The festival also provides workshops, roundtables, cultural activities and spectacular camel races. Besides 5,000 local attendees, about 160 international visitors are expected. This year, the festival initiates a special human rights section.

BANGLADESH – OUTREACH ‘ARE YOU LISTENING!’

The award-winning documentary Are You Listening in Bangladesh follows Bangladeshi people who are impacted by floods, but fighting back to reclaim their livelihoods and dignity. The film has been screened at festivals worldwide, but the average Bangladeshi has not yet had an opportunity to see it. Now, from December 2013 to November 2014, the film will be screened in all 64 districts of the country. Each of these screenings, organised in close coöperation with local film societies, will be followed by Q&A’s about the impact of climate change on society. This will give more than 30.000 people the chance to see the film and join the debate.

BURKINA FASO – CINÉ DROIT LIBRE FESTIVAL VILLAGE

From 22-29 June 2013 the 9th edition of the human rights film festival Ciné Droit Librewill be held in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. To bring the film festival closer to the audience and lower the barriers for the less-privileged citizens of the city, a new venue is established: the “festival village”. In this open-air venue in the middle of a popular neighborhood, 12 human rights related films will be screened. In addition, music concerts, animation screenings and debates are organised for the 8,000 – 10,000 expected visitors.

BURMA – HUMAN RIGHTS HUMAN DIGNITY INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Movies that Matter supports the organisation of a travelling human rights film festival in Burma. After the 1st human rights film festival in Yangon, which will take place from 15 to 19 June 2013, a selection of the festival films will be screened in 13 cities in Myanmar/Burma, with about 80 screenings and 26 discussions in the entire country. The programme focuses on freedom of expression, freedom of religion and discrimination against women. With this travelling festival, which will take place in the second half of 2013, the organisation Human Dignity Media Organization aims to attract over 10,000 Burmese visitors.

CAMEROON – BAMENDA HUMAN RIGHTS TRAVELLING FILM AND ARTS FESTIVAL

The 3rd edition of the Bamenda Human Rights Travelling Film and Arts Festival runs from 15-22 July 2013. The festival reaches audiences in seven urban communities in Bamenda, located in the northwest of Cameroon. A total of 30 film screenings will be held in community halls, school campuses and cafes all over the city. In addition to watching film, the 10,000 visitors can participate in 15 debates and enjoy a drawing exhibition on human rights. The 7-day festival, set up by the organisation A Common Future, will focus on various themes, including violence against women, children rights and the rights of minorities and indigenous people.

ECUADOR – AMAZONIAN FILM FOR ALL

To raise attention about the rights of the inhabitants of the Ecuadorian Amazon,Fundación Pachamama organises a travelling film festival in different cities in Ecuador. These cities, including Guayaquil, Cuenca, Ibarra and Manta, are located outside of the Amazon. In each of these cities, six films will be screened about the conservation of the Amazon and the survival of its indigenous peoples. In addition, during these three-day festivals, debates and photo exhibitions about the human rights violations in the Amazon are organised. The organisers expect to reach at least 3,750 urban citizens. Movies that Matter also supported an earlier mobile cinema project of Fundación Pachamama, Cine Amazonico, which took place in February 2012.

GUATEMALA & EL SALVADOR – JUSTICE FOR MY SISTER: REDEFINING MASCULINITY TOUR

Violence against women is still very common in Central America. The documentary Justice for my Sister shows the determination of a Guatemalan lady to find the assassin of her sister, and bring him to justice despite prejudices, opposition and corruption. The film will be screened between July and October 2013, as part of a training about women’s rights in Guatemala and El Salvador. The organisations “Aquí Entre Hombres” and “Colectivo Justicia para mi Hermana” will organise a total of 17 screenings of the film for almost 2,400 representatives of police, public prosecutors, the ministries of education and unions. The project includes dubbing the film in the Quiche language and developing educational materials about addressing violence against women.

PALESTINE – KARAMA HUMAN RIGHTS FILM FESTIVAL

The theatre organisation ASHTAR is organising the first human rights film festival in the occupied Palestinian territory. With 40 film screenings, 12 debates and various music concerts and theatre events, the festival advocates for human rights all across the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip. The organisers assume that around 5,000 visitors – especially youth – will participate in the festival, which is scheduled to take place from 10 – 20 December 2013. This new festival is organised in close coöperation with the Karama Human Rights Film Festival in Jordan, which started in 2010 with support from Movies that Matter.

UGANDA – MANYA HUMAN RIGHTS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

In December 2013, the 4th edition of the Manya Human Rights International Film Festival will be held in Kampala. The 5-day festival screens over 50 films in the National Theatre and more than 40 other locations in and around the Ugandan capital, including video halls and outdoor locations. This year’s programme focuses on the role of social media in promoting the rule of law, good governance, democracy and transparency. For this edition the Manya Cultural Foundation expects more than 10,000 visitors. The foundation also plans to set up a forum with organisers of human rights film festivals in East Africa.

These are the 9 projects that have been supported through the Movies that Matter Support Programme in 2013:

from http://www.moviesthatmatter.nl/english_index/international/support_programme/supported_projects/supported_projects_2013

 

Luon Sovath speaks out on Radio Free Asia

November 10, 2012

On 7 November the activist monk Luon Sovath, MEA Laureate of 2012, spoke to Radio Free Asia about his work.

As the interview is quite interesting I copied here in in full:

Fresh from receiving the “Nobel Prize for Human Rights,” Cambodia’s technology-savvy activist monk Loun Sovath has called on authorities in his country to end the use of violence in land eviction cases, vowing to continue his struggle to protect victims of land grabs. He also said he would not be cowed by government harassment and called on his fellow monks, often respected as figures of moral authority in Cambodia, to join in the struggle to defend villagers who have become victims of forced evictions. Loun Sovath was the first Southeast Asian to be presented with the 2012 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders as he was selected for documenting the struggle of land rights activists and ordinary citizens evicted from their homes in his impoverished country. The monk collected the award—viewed by many as the Nobel Prize for Human Rights—in Geneva last month.

“The Buddha advised people to do good deeds both physically and mentally,” he told RFA’s Khmer service during an interview in Washington on Wednesday. “Respecting human rights is a good deed which will lead to peace and prosperity for this world and in the next. So for monks to become rights defenders is nothing against Buddhism, but can lead to enlightenment and peace.” “Monks play a vital role in society. I appeal to monks to rise up to follow in the Buddha’s footsteps,” he said. Loun Sovath  said the Cambodian people must also rise up to demand their rights, highlighting land disputes as the one of the biggest issues facing the public in the country.

“The authorities must stop using violence against innocent villagers who are the victims of land grabbing,” he said. Research by Cambodian rights group LICADHO shows that some 2.1 million hectares of land has been given to private companies in the form of land concessions over the last two decades. The massive transfer has led to countless forced evictions and affected over 400,000 people in the 12 provinces that LICADHO monitors since 2003 alone, the group said.

Sovath is currently touring the U.S., meeting with the Cambodian community and addressing various nongovernmental organizations on the human rights situation in his country. He began his nearly two-month visit last week in New York, traveled to Washington, and arrived in Chicago Thursday. Sovath said he was honored to receive the Martin Ennals Award.

“I was given the award because I have worked as a rights defender and a protector of social justice involved with land issues, forced evictions, and the protection of natural resources and wildlife,” he said. In June 2011, the New York-based Human Rights Watch awarded Loun Sovath with the Hellman/Hammett grant for his work supporting communities facing forced evictions and land-grabbing in Cambodia.

Luon Sovath by Dovana

Years of activism Sovath first became involved in human rights work in 2009, when members of his family were injured during a police shootout at unarmed villagers in a land eviction case. The monk’s brother and nephew were wounded in the standoff, which he documented in a video. He is known for his extensive use of video to inform the world about his confrontations with authorities, earning him the nickname “multimedia monk.” The monk is rarely seen without a mobile phone or tablet. He also uses songs and art to spread his non-violent message of defending human rights. Loun Sovath said he strove to protect human rights in the interest of his country. “I have a desire to help build Cambodia,” he said. In June, Loun Sovath was briefly detained by Cambodian authorities and accused of “causing instability” after he joined protests against the jailing of 13 women over a long-running forced land eviction case in the capital Phnom Penh. Municipal monk officials threatened to have him defrocked as a monk, but released him after he put his thumbprint on a statement assuring that he will not join future protests. Loun Sovath had been banned in April from entering pagodas in Phnom Penh after he participated in land protests.

Sovath, who has since participated in various protests, said he would not stop his activism even though he was concerned about his personal safety. “The authorities have tried to prevent me from doing good things and from helping the country and [the Buddhist] religion,” Sovath said. “I can’t accept this because I have done nothing wrong,” he said. “As long as human rights violations continue to exist in Cambodia, I will continue to do my work.”

Reported by Samean Yun for RFA’s Khmer service. Translated by Samean Yun. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.

Copyright © 1998-2011 Radio Free Asia. All rights reserved.

UN speaks on Reprisals against Human Rights Defenders

September 15, 2012

United Nations Radio: Reprisals against human rights defenders go unpunished

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Scores of human rights defenders in at least 12 countries worldwide have faced serious reprisals and intimidation over the past one year, according to a report by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.

The report says the human rights defenders were tortured, detained without trial, beaten, banned from travelling, labeled traitors and subjected to various forms on inhuman treatment mostly in the hands of state security agents.

The Secretary General said it was disheartening that governments concerned were unwilling to fully investigate the cases and bring to justice those behind the reprisals.

In a statement to the UN Human Rights Council Panel on Reprisals, Mr Ban appealed to governments to do more to protect those who cooperate with the UN in the field of human rights.

Duration 44″

http://www.unmultimedia.org/radio/english/2012/09/reprisals-against-human-rights-defenders-going-unpunished/

Breaking news: the venerable Luon Sovath from Cambodia – MEA 2012 nominee

April 24, 2012

Today the nominees of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders 2012 are announced in Geneva. The ann0uncement was made by the new Chair of the Martin Ennals Foundation, Mrs Micheline Calmy Rey, until last year the President of and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland.  Each nominee deserves its own post!

One of the 3 nominees is the venerable Luon Sovath from Cambodia. In Cambodia forced evictions remove families from their homes and lands with little or no notice, without genuine consultation, and often without compensation. Despite threats of violence, arrest and disrobing, the venerable Luon Sovath, a non-violent, innovative human rights defender, firmly supports and documents at-risk rural and urban communities, mainly by advocating to stop forced evictions, documenting their struggles with videos (the venerable Sovath  is also known as the ‘Multimedia Monk’ as he is never without his camera, his mobile phone and his laptop), poems and songs, defending their right to housing, as well as for adequate compensation and alternative housing, organizing public forums to educate communities on how Buddhism, human rights and democracy are in the same line. His peaceful, non-violent approach (the venerable Sovath also composes songs to unite and inspire – regularly distributing the songs on CDs to the communities) is crucial in the nascent grassroots mobilization of affected communities nationwide; his increasingly prominent role has drawn the reaction of the authorities, and his advocacy against forced evictions touches powerful economic interests. The threats against the venerable Sovath are very real, from powerful businessmen, from the authorities and even from some of the conservative clergy.