Film Festival Promotes Human Rights in Lebanon



lebanon_human_rightsLEBANON – The launch of the first Beirut Human Rights Film Festival in Lebanon this week helped viewers cut through the taboo surrounding issues such as domestic violence, child labour and sexual abuse and forced them to confront them on the big screen.


The festival, partly funded by World Vision, invited university and NGO filmmaking teams from Lebanon to submit films focused on the issue of human rights, especially children’s rights.   

“Through this film festival, we want to emphasise our resolution and commitment to contribute to awareness-raising on human rights by educating children, women and men on their rights, the law and the system of governance,” said Patricio Cuevas-Parra, World Vision Lebanon’s advocacy and protection manager.

More than 60 students and 20 other professional and NGO filmmakers submitted films for judging. A panel will select the two most innovative and high quality films to be widely distributed to schools and universities with supporting educational materials to serve as awareness tools on human rights. World Vision will use its contacts with schools in communities throughout Lebanon to support distribution of the winning films.

“The feedback we are receiving so far is really encouraging,” said Dr. Iwona Safi, Director of the Human Rights Film Festival and professor at Lebanese American University. “Pupils attending the festival don’t want to leave and the movie theatres are always full.” 

World Vision’s advocacy work focuses on promoting respect for human rights and the principles of impartiality, tolerance, gender equality and neutrality. The efforts seek to influence stakeholders and communities to increase knowledge and action on relevant international human rights treaties, especially the Convention on the Rights of the Child. 

The festival is co-funded by World Vision, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Embassy of the Netherlands in Lebanon.

“World Vision joined the film festival because this is an exceptional platform that allows us to unite the efforts of the academic world, government, international organisations and NGOs to work together to build a society which promotes respect, dignity and equality for everyone,” said Cuevas-Parra.

The BHRFF 2008 was organised by the Lebanese American University’s Institute for Diplomacy and Conflict Transformation. Lebanon is as a pilot country for this project, but plans to expand to the region and other African countries.


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