Human Rights through Cinematography in Islamabad

Weblogbericht | 22-12-2017

Geschreven door Saqib Riaz.

In 2017 the Netherlands Embassy in Islamabad again partnered with the United Nations Information Center (UNIC) to integrate the screening of the movie "The Borneo Case" in the overall “Human Rights through Cinematography” initiative in Pakistan.

Human Rights through Cinematography
From 25 November till 10 December more than 25 documentaries and feature films were screened during the Human Rights Film Festival in eight cities across Pakistan. The initiative (explicitly non-commercial, publicly accessible, and managed by the United Nations and the European Union) is aimed at promoting and advocating the protection of human rights through film screenings, while keeping in view the sensitivities associated with the bold topics such as freedom of religion and belief, LGBT rights and freedom of expression. On average, the screenings received very good audiences and about 100 participants from different backgrounds attended each screening. Each screening was followed by a panel discussion to encourage debates around human rights topics in the context of Pakistan.

Dutch contribution with thanks to Movies that Matter: The Borneo Case
The NL Embassy screened The Borneo Case in the auditorium of UNIC on 5 December 2017 in Islamabad. Pakistan is one of the most affected countries of the effects of climate change, and faces the challenges of deforestation, logging and massive infrastructural development in the wake of growing population – an increase of 57% since 1998 as revealed in the recent census. The screening was a big success as around 140 participants attended it, and actively contributed to the post-screening discussion.
The Dutch Ambassador in Pakistan, Ms Ardi Stoios-Braken, moderated the panel discussion. The panel had experts from the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Director-general Farzana Altaf Shah), the Food and Agriculture Organization (Mina Dowlatchahi), the NGO LEAD-Pakistan (Ali Tauqeer Sheikh) and the World Wildlife Fund Pakistan (Robert Whale).

The discussion format was experimental for the Pakistani context. Rather than asking the panelists questions, the moderator read out statements to know the opinion of the audience by holding GREEN and RED cards to agree or disagree. Each panelist responded to the statement, and then audience was asked again if the experts' opinion influenced their views about the statement. If yes, how and what? Following were the statements for the discussion:

1- Economic development is more important than preserving nature, culture and the environment.
2- Every citizen has the right to always question development decisions of their government.
3- Corruption is okay, as long as I get more roads, bridges and uninterrupted energy.
4- Activists who investigate and fight for the rights should be protected.
5- Sustainable development is a sophisticated tool of the developed countries to undermine infrastructural development in the developing countries?

Impact of the screening
The screening generated very interesting discussions with diverse views from the participants, in particular from the students. The issue of sustainable development, corruption and the protection of human rights defenders dominated the discourse, and generally everyone agreed that public and private sectors need to come together to save the environment. The importance of investigative journalism in the context of freedom of expression and the protection of human rights defenders were also among the highlights.

Here is a good piece on the event appeared in a local English language newspaper:




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