"The EU sees human rights defenders as indispensable allies for the protection and promotion of human rights. No country, no government, is flawless in the domain of human rights. We need brave and courageous people to remind us of our responsibilities," EU Ambassador and Deputy Head of the EU Delegation Geneva, Carl Hallergard, recalled in his opening remarks, "That is why supporting human rights defenders is one of the major priorities of the EU's human rights policy." He also reminded of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as the 20th anniversary of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders this year: "The EU wants to bring about an environment where human rights defenders can operate freely and without being threatened."
The event, which was co-presented by the EU, the International Service for Human Rights, the World Organisation Against Torture and Lawyers without Borders Switzerland, included a screening of the documentary "Silas". The film focuses on the situation of environmental activists in war-torn Liberia and their struggle to fight corruption. The screening was followed by a panel discussion with Maryam Al-Khawaja (human rights activist from Bahrain), Michel Forst (UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders), Claudia Samayoa (Co-founder and coordinator of Unidad de Protección de Defensoras y Defensores de Derechos Humanos Guatemala) and Gerald Staberock (Secretary General of the World Organization Against Torture).
The EU has repeatedly been a partner of the International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights in Geneva and supports it in promoting human rights. The FIFDH takes place for the 16th time this year and has become one of the most important international events dedicated to cinema and human rights.
To learn more about the EU's commitment to defending human rights defenders, click here: https://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/sectors/human-rights-and-governance/democracy-and-human-rights/human-rights-defenders_en