Human Rights Through Cinematography festival closes with screening of Oscar-winning documentary

‘Human Rights Through Cinematography’ film festival concluded with the screening of ‘A girl in the River: the Price of Forgiveness’ at COMSATS Institute of Information Technology in Islamabad. The last film screening of the festival coincided with the Human Rights Day, celebrated every year on 10 December.

Members of the diplomatic community, parliamentarians, civil society activists and students attended the screening of the documentary which was followed by a penal discussion. The panelists included Kamran Michael, Federal Minister for Human Rights, Isabelle Gattiker, Director of International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights, Neil Buhne, United Nation’s Resident Coordinator in Pakistan and Anne Marchal, Deputy Head of the Delegation of the EU to Pakistan.

Isabelle Gattiker spoke about the effectiveness of cinema to defend human rights. Anne Marchal said the documentary gave young people a chance to decide what kind of society they want to live in. Kamran Michael said, “The film contained a strong message calling on parents to be tolerant and compassionate towards their children’s desires.”

The 40 minute Oscar-winning documentary by Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy tells the story of Saba, an 18-year-old girl who eloped to marry the person of her choice. To restore their honour, her father and uncle tried to kill her and left her for dead in a river but she survived the ordeal. Initially she refused to forgive her attackers, but buckled under family pressure, which allowed her attackers to return home.

Organized by the United Nations Information Centre, Embassy of the Argentina, High Commission of Canada, International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights, Embassy of the Netherlands, Embassy of the Switzerland and the European Union, the festival travelled to Gujrat, Peshawar, Quetta, Lahore and Karachi, and featured films on migration, democracy, forced marriage, domestic violence, press freedom and honor killing.