Speech of the Ambassador of the European Union to to Pakistan H. E. Mrs Androulla Kaminara
At the inaugural ceremony of the Human Rights Film Festival 2019
1 December 2019 at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts in Islamabad
Welcome to the 2019 HR Reel Film Festival.
The EU delegation to Pakistan and EU member states in partnership with the United Nations, and other third countries with embassies here, as well as educational and cultural institutions across Pakistan have organised the 5th edition of the HR Reel Film Festival.
- The objective of the film festival is to promote award-winning documentaries on HR themes, including on women's rights, children's rights, freedom of expression and initiate debates and promote understanding across cultures. The festival has over the years been successful in attracting film lovers of all ages and opinion makers, youth, artists.
- This film festival will be screening 29 award winning films and documentaries from Pakistan and from around the world. For 10 days screenings will be held in ten cities of Pakistan, including Faisalabad, Gujrat, Islamabad, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Multan, Karachi, Peshawar, Mardan and Quetta at various universities.
- Since its launch in 2014, the festival has grown in size and content. New partners such as the Centaurus Cineplex, as well as cultural centres such as Goethe-Institute, Alliance Française, OLOMOPOLO Media, Pakistan Community Chowk Centre in Karachi and Chailogue have joined us. This year it brings together 24 different partners.
The opening of the Film Festival today coincides with a number of very important events:
- with the 16th day of activism against Gender Based Violence
- after ten days of screenings, it will end with on Human Rights Day on the 10th of December which marks the 71st anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Todays film is an award winning film produced by the OSCE (Organisation for Security and cooperation in Europe) and focuses on the stories a number of female journalists and who had been victims of cyber violence in their respective countries. The journalists are from Europe and from other countries, but the phenomenon of cyber violence against them is the same across all countries.
The film touches upon a number of interrelated aspects:
- The under-representation of women in the media: with currently globally only 23% are women.
- The targeting of female journalists who are being harassed much more than male journalists.
- The prevalence of gender based violence since cyber harassment is a form of GBV.
- The need for freedom of expression which is constantly under threat.
- And how all these aspects are affected by the increasing use of cyber and social media.
Before I end today – I would like to touch upon another important event. Today is the first day of the new 5 year term of the European Commission which for the first time will be headed by a woman – President Ursula von der Leyen – and for the first time in its history the EC has gender equality – half of the 28 EC Commissioners are women.
For the EU to be participating in this festival is very important. As Federica Mogherini which ended her term as High Representative and Vice president of the EC – as the foreign policy chief of the EU said yesterday – the EU is a stubborn defender of human rights.
Ladies and Gentlemen, last but not least,
- I would like to thank Fauzia Saeed for being a guest speaker here today, our panel moderator Secunder Kermani from BBC, as well as the panel members Asma Shirazi from AAJ News, Fawad Houssain from Dawn News, Maleeka Bokhari, Member of the National Assembly and Nighat Dad from the Digital Rights Foundation.
- I would like to thank all the countries who contributed both financially and providing a wide selection of films for us to watch. I extend my gratitude to the UN, the cultural centers, universities and the all other partners – it would not have been possible without you.
- I would like to thank the audience of the festival, who has been with us the past 5 years. I hope that this year we break the participation record.
- I thank you all for being here with us tonight, and I wish you a wonderful evening.