The Ministry of Human Rights, as part of the Huqooq-e-Pakistan collaborative project with the European Union, is launching a Human Rights Film Festival to increase awareness and understanding of human rights issues in Pakistan. The ‘Reels for Rights’ Festival will be held online between 4th August and 25th August 2020.
As lockdown and restriction measures implemented to curb the spread of the coronavirus continue to disrupt normal life, this presents an opportunity to use online platforms to constructively and effectively engage the large proportion of the population that has been confined to their homes, on human rights issues. This film festival is a unique and innovative way to encourage independent thought and foster dialogue about critical human rights issues in Pakistan. It also has the potential to challenge prevailing norms and problematic stereotypes through a creative medium that is easily accessible, engaging and powerful.
The Reels for Rights Festival will feature a collection of 14-15 pre-selected films on themes including child rights, female empowerment, transgender rights, minority rights, access to justice, death penalty and climate change. The Ministry of Human Rights will host ‘Live Watch Parties’ across social media platforms to promote interaction and engagement. The films will also be available for viewing on the Ministry’s website and YouTube page for the duration of the festival.
The festival will also include multiple virtual panel discussions to facilitate and encourage dialogue and discourse on various human rights issues that have been explored through the selected films. This includes a panel discussion on the Human Rights Situation in Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir, to be moderated by Minister for Human Rights, Shireen Mazari. Panel Discussions will also be held exploring the power of film to create social impact as well as on challenging prevailing gender norms.
“The Ministry of Human Rights is launching a virtual film festival, geared towards creating cross-cultural understanding and dialogue on local, national, and global human rights issues. The diverse range of films that have been selected seek to raise awareness about various human rights issues, including the Illegal annexation of Indian Occupied Kashmir, and the prevailing humanitarian crisis in the region. In this way, the films will promote awareness and discourse about critical human rights issues that are often neglected in terms of human rights policy and discourse,” said Federal Minister for Human Rights, Shireen Mazari, speaking about the launch of the festival.
Federal Secretary for Human Rights, Rabiya Javeri Agha, spoke about the vision and objectives behind the launch of the Human Rights Film Festival, “The Reels for Rights Film Festival is an initiative through which the Ministry of Human Rights hopes to encourage people to think openly and explore various perspectives on human rights issues in Pakistan. The Film Festival also aims to empower people through positive stories of change and celebrates the human spirit. It also gives local artists and filmmakers a platform to increase visibility and engage with diverse audiences. Ultimately, the festival seeks to create a platform to encourage and facilitate engagement between the general public, students, academics, artists, filmmakers, human rights defenders, government officials and institutions, and the international community on important human rights issues.”