United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
THE FILMS ON GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE screened at Papua New Guinea’s 2012 Human Rights Film Festival gave voice to many victims who described beatings they had endured and their inability to escape ill-treatment because of poverty, unemployment and lack of institutional support.
The film festival screened a number of locally made documentaries and films including, Why Me - Survivors Stories from local producer Raka Gamini of Kundu 2TV. Her work brings some of society's most marginalised voices onto the national airwaves in PNG to tell their stories anonymously.
Another documentary on the Safe Cities Project was an initiative of UN Women in PNG. Port Moresby is one of five cities participating in the project, which aims to involve women and young people in local decision-making and to have women take active roles in community responses to sexual violence and crime.
The festival also included the official opening of the photo exhibition, Crying Meri, which exposes the issue of violence against women in PNG. Photographer Vlad Sokhi documents domestic violence, rape, and sorcery-related attacks against women and girls.
Now in its third year, the film festival aims to promote greater awareness and respect for human rights. Each session is backed by forums which debate the issues and aim to build an understanding that personal commitment can help end discrimination.
In addition to violence against women, this year’s film festival also focused on a number of other issues, including: torture; discrimination and sexual health; sorcery-related extra judicial killings; climate change; refugees and migration; housing rights and forced evictions; and business, environment and human rights.
United Nations resident coordinator in PNG, David McLachlan-Karr, said “The festival is an excellent vehicle for human rights education… it encourages people to engage and actively demand and defend human rights for all, especially the most marginalized and discriminated.”
The festival was staged this year in Port Moresby, Buka and Goroka and is now part of the Human Rights Film Network.