UNHCR partners with One World Refugee Film Festival to give refugee stories centre stage in 70th anniversary celebrations
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Ottawa, Canada/Canadian-Media: Starting on 1 December to 14 December 2020, UNHCR will be partnering with One World Arts, Amnesty International Canada, CARE Canada, and Oxfam Canada to co-present this year’s edition of the One World Film Festival (OWFF), a two-week series of virtual screenings featuring thought-provoking documentaries and discussions with film directors and experts.
Image credit: UNHCR
“As we mark the 70th anniversary of UNHCR on December 14, we want to give center stage to the voices and stories of refugees and displaced persons — and what better way to do so than through the power of film,” said Rema Jamous Imseis, UNHCR Representative in Canada.
“Though COVID-19 means we will not be hosting a traditional festival, we are excited to partner with One World Arts, other humanitarian responders, filmmakers, and refugees themselves in exploring the power of digital technologies to reach diverse audiences across Canada on one of the most important issues of our time. From the ongoing conflicts in Syria and Yemen to the plight of the Rohingya, the power of music and memory, climate change, and LGBTI+ issues, there is something for everyone in this festival.”
Special presentations by UNHCR are “VOICES FROM SYRIA” and “MEMORY AND THE REFUGEE EXPERIENCE,” which will conclude the One World Refugee Film Festival while also marking a special milestone for UNHCR.
“VOICES FROM SYRIA,” which premieres on 1 December 2020, is a curated selection of four documentaries, including Harmony for After War (Pablo Tosco and Migue Roth), Wajd: Songs of Separation (Amar Chebib), A House for the Syrians (Nadine Beaudet and Christian Mathieu Fournier) and The Rest (Ai Weiwei). To kick off the festival on 1 December 2020, a unique conversation with Syrian-Canadian filmmaker Amar Chebib, hosted by Maryam Shah from the Toronto Star, will be live-streamed at 20:00 EST.
“MEMORY AND THE REFUGEE EXPERIENCE,” which coincides with the 70th anniversary of UNHCR on 14 December, will showcase three documentaries featuring past and ongoing refugee crises, Memories of Mogadishu (Asha Siad), Memory is Our Homeland (Jonathan Durand), and Yemen: the Silent War (Sufian Abulohom). A special conversation with Polish-Canadian filmmaker Jonathan Durand and Rema Jamous Imseis, UNHCR’s Representative in Canada, hosted by Jim Creskey, founder and publisher of The Hill Times, will be live-streamed at 20:00 EST.
Profits from UNHCR events will go to Matthew House Ottawa, a local shelter helping and supporting refugee claimants.
Film descriptions, information on the programming presented by partners, and additional information about the One World Refugee Film Festival can be found at owrff2020.eventive.org.
Programming by UNHCR is open to the media, and interviews with Rema Jamous Imseis and filmmakers can be made available.
Nearly 40 million at heightened risk of violence, discrimination and rights abuses as Covid spawns a ‘coping crisis’
#UNHCR; #GlobalProtectionCluster; #Covid19; #ChildMarriages
Geneva/UNHCR/Canadian-Media: A new report released today by the Norwegian Refugee Council and the UNHCR, UN Refugee Agency-led Global Protection Cluster* (GPC) finds that millions of people internally displaced or affected by conflict could be missing out on humanitarian protection support due to insufficient funding.
Displaced Yemeni children play in Amran’s old city, July 2017. Image credit: UNHCR
GPC data indicates that of the 54 million people targeted for assistance in 26 humanitarian response plans, almost 40 million could be missing out this year.
“The human toll of the pandemic on the world’s vulnerable should not only be measured by the number of lives it has taken, but by the eclipsing number it has shattered. COVID-19 has hardest hit millions of people with absolutely no access to protection services. Children recruited by armies cannot reclaim lost childhoods. Women raped and beaten wear their scars for life,” said Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council.
Gender-based violence has increased dramatically since the onset of COVID-19. Experts projected in April that for every three months lockdown measures continued around the world, an additional 15 million women and girls would be exposed to gender-based violence.
In Mali, over 4,400 cases of gender-based violence were reported between January and September, but only 48 per cent of towns had support services. In the Central African Republic (CAR), reported incidents of gender-based violence more than doubled, including rape, sexual slavery and forced marriage. CAR was already one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a woman or girl. In Niger, reports have been received of women being tortured for engaging in economic activity outside of the home, and not wearing full veil coverings.
Child marriages are also on the rise. Thirteen million more underage marriages could occur over the next 10 years because of the side effects of the pandemic, according to UN estimates. Trafficking is also a concern, with protection aid workers in 66 per cent of the countries surveyed reporting that people are at increased risk of trafficking due to COVID-19.
An increase in violence and armed conflict has also been recorded, with attacks on civilians increasing by 2.5 per cent since the pandemic began. For example, over 1,800 violent events involving communal armed groups have been registered since the start of the pandemic – a 70 per cent increase – largely across East and West Africa.
“COVID-19 is inflicting an unprecedented human rights crisis for the world’s most vulnerable. Millions of internally displaced and conflict-affected people are in harm’s way or are falling through the gaps,” said UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Gillian Triggs.
“The world cannot afford to be complacent and indifferent to their plight. Millions of lives are at stake. Humanitarians can only do so much. Armed conflict continues to be the main driver of forced displacement, so peace is indispensable to end conflict and suffering.”
According to the report released today, the gap between protection needs during the pandemic and protection funding is growing wider. This year’s funding for protecting people most in need of assistance in humanitarian crises has received just 25 per cent of what is needed. Furthermore, historically nearly 70 per cent of funding for protection services comes from just five donors; the European Union, United Kingdom, Germany, the United Nations and the United States.
“As we enter the new year, the aftershocks of 2020 will begin to take hold. As our report shows, more funding is needed not only to save lives and heal wounds, but also to effectively prevent new outrageous abuse and violence from taking place,” warned Jan Egeland.
Facts and figures: