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Film Festival Hi-Lights Overseas Aid Issue

Film Festival Hi-Lights Overseas Aid Issue

Lost Children

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Anna Sussmilch of aid organisation Caritas gives a quick wrap-up of the Human Rights Film Festival which finishes in Wellington this evening and will then entertain and enlighten the good people of Auckland and Christchurch.

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The Human Rights Film festival, currently showing at The Paramount in Wellington and soon to be screening in Auckland and Christchurch showcases not only films but humanity. In its second year the festival has collected together a range of films that feature a number of human rights issues.

Bhopal: The Search for Justice

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Among those showing is the film Bhopal: The Search for Justice, which looks at how a small village in India brings a case against Dow Chemicals following a pesticide plant gas leak twenty years ago that is still causing suffering to the community.

Lost Children, a Caritas sponsored film, follows the Caritas rehabilitation of four children, who had lost their childhood after being kidnapped by the Lord’s Resistance Army in Northern Uganda and forced to become child soldiers.

The film, Drowned Out, looks at the plight faced by the people of Jalsindi in central India whose homes are threatened by rising water from the Narmada dam project.

Drowned Out

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Mike Smith, Director of Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand says that the film festival is an excellent way to highlight global human rights issues.

“The festival provides an excellent platform for people to discuss human rights, to debate them and to find out more about the world around them.”

Mike Smith says there is also an integral link between human rights and international development. For example, Article 25 of The Universal Declaration for Human Rights states that regardless of where people live in the world they have a right to right to water, education and healthcare.

“Though our international programmes, we are working hard to help ensure people have access to these rights in countries where they otherwise may be threatened or cease to exist.”

The New Zealand government currently gives only 0.27 percent of its Gross National Income (GNI) to overseas development, despite being committed to spending 0.7 percent by 2015.

“This is a disappointing figure and we would like to see a stronger commitment by our government to increasing New Zealand’s overseas assistance.”

Given the number of people attending films at the festival, human rights is clearly an issue of interest to many New Zealanders and the government should be looking to take that into consideration.”

ENDS

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