The public flooded the Festival for the opening night film Power Meri, a documentary on the PNG Orchids journey to the 2017 Women’s Rugby League World Cup.
The screening was followed by a panel discussion with PNG NRL Team Leader and PNG Orchids 2017 Captain, Cathy Neap, as well as Karen Haive, Department of Community Development and Religion, Susan Ferguson, UNWomen Country Representative, and Stella Rumbam, World Vision PNG Operations Manager.
Speaking on the power and importance of representation, Neap commented: “It just takes one woman to stand up and say I can do it and the others will follow.” She also shared that she hoped the film would change the way people treat women in sport and other parts of society in PNG.
The four-day festival featured 27 Films and 9 panel discussions embodying the theme, “Stand up today to change tomorrow” (Sanap nau long senisim tumora).
Festival goers had a unique opportunity to ask questions and share their concerns with panellists from Government, civil society and international organisations, on critical issues impacting the country, including non-discrimination, media and migration, human rights and development, filmmaking, preventing and addressing sorcery accusation related violence, and business and human rights.
Over two hundred students from seven schools attended the Festival’s Friday school session focused on youth rights and the right to education. This included students and teachers from Badihagwa, Coronation, La Salle Technical College, Koki Primary, Gerehu Primary, Port Moresby Technical College and St. Joseph’s International Catholic College.
Following a screening of the popular film, Aliko and Ambai, made in Eastern Highlands Province, Equal Playing Field CEO and Founder, Jacqui Joseph, and Alithia Barampataz from the UN Human Rights office, spoke with students last Friday on actions they can take to be human rights advocates.
Barampataz explained the Festival’s theme was selected to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that by standing up for their own rights as well as others, especially marginalised members of society, they can help to achieve the first article of the Declaration, “All people are born free and equal in dignity and rights”, and be the generation to break the cycle of domestic violence in the country.
Travelling to all four regions of PNG, the Festival will continue next week at the University of Goroka on 23-25 October, before entering its final chapter in Buka, Arawa and Buin in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville on 3, 10 and 18 November respectively.
The PNG Human Rights Film Festival 2018 committee is comprised of the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General, UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Moresby Arts Theatre, Equal Playing Field, European Union, Transparency International, University of Goroka Centre for Creative and Social Media, Divine Word University, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNWomen, UNFPA, Embassy of the United States of America and World Vision.
The Festival is made possible by a range of sponsors including PNG Air and the Gini Goada Foundation.
(A student asks a question at the “Youth rights” panel discussion on Day 2 of the 9th PNG Human Rights Film Festival)