Sunday, December 06, 2015

NI Human Rights Festival (6-12 December) - challenging stereotypes about rights and equality

The fourth annual Northern Ireland Human Rights Festival runs this week between Sunday 6 and Saturday 12 December. The festival attempts to “challenge stereotypes about what rights and equality mean in Northern Ireland” and they hope the programme will “bring those conversations beyond traditional audiences into the wider consciousness of the people who live here”.

Events looking at refugees form a thread running through the 2015 programme. There’s a daily lunchtime panel discussion looking at an aspect of human rights in the Black Box, and lots of films being screened. The full set of events is available on the NIHRF website.

Below, I’ve selected a few highlights ... but don’t forget the Refugee Welcome Party on Saturday 12th.

Sunday 6 December

7pm in Dublin Road Movie House – Free screening of Mary Meets Mohammad which looks at Tasmania’s first detention centre through the eyes of local Christian knitter Mary and Muslim Afghan Hazara asylum seeker Mohammad. You can reserve a free ticket.

8pm in Black Box – Screening of Open Bethlehem made by director Leila Sansour who returned to Bethlehem to make a film about her home town, soon to be encircled by a wall. She left the city as a teenager thinking that Bethlehem was too small and provincial. he film spans seven momentous years in the life of Bethlehem, revealing a city of astonishing beauty and political strife under occupation. £3.

Monday 7 December

1pm in UU Belfast Campus – Presentation drawing on artistic practices in Argentina, Rwanda and Bosnia to explore how communities and individuals use art to express experiences of human right violations and the place of art in seeking justice and engaging with contested pasts.

1pm in Black Box – Panel and discussion on the topic of Reproductive Healthcare is a Human Right. Free.

8pm in Aether & Echo – Songs of the People: Traditional and Contemporary Culture in Northern Ireland. Exploring cultural identity and today’s ethnic diversity through songs and stories from less traditional cultures. Presented by singer Dónal Kearney. £3.

Tuesday 8 December

6pm in the Black Box – Free discussion led by Disabled Police Officers Association and Disability Action about the treatment of police officers disabled while on duty during the Troubles (9000 were injured).

7pm at St Mary’s University College – Free lecture Dr Niamh Reilly (NUI Galway) on Women’s Human Rights: International and Local Experiences.

8pm in Black Box – Hollie McNish is a poet of whom fellow wordsmith Benjamin Zephaniah said “I can’t take my ears off her”. Tickets £10/£7.

8pm in Black Box – Screening of Coach Zoran and his African Tigers follows veteran Serbian coach Zoran Djordjevic as he seeks to forge first national football team for South Sudan (the world’s youngest country). £5 (including a beer)

Wednesday 9 December

12.30pm in Beanbag Cinema – Free screening of Departing: Arrivals – The Syrian Story, a film by Hafsah Naib about war, parenthood and survival. You can reserve a free ticket.

1pm in Black Box – A Round of Applause for my Glamorous Assistant promises a panel discussion to explore why girls tend to favour ‘the arts’ at school yet many creative careers are dominated by men. The panel includes women who’ve stepped into the spotlight. Free.

5pm in Black Box – Ulster Covenant, Easter Proclamation & Human Rights – An event to explore the human rights elements and meaning within these important historical and constitutional texts in our shared history. Free.

6pm in UU Belfast campus – Is Religion Fundamentally Anti-Choice? UU researchers Dr Fiona Bloomer and Dr Claire Pierson challenge the common assumption that religion is fundamentally opposed to abortion. By taking examples from comparative historical and contemporary religious perspectives, they’ll discuss whether political dialogue on abortion in Northern Ireland manipulates human rights and attempts to use religion as a barrier to women’s full citizenship. Free.

Thursday 10 December

1pm at the Black Box – What Does Freedom of Assembly mean in NI? A panel discussion looking at Article 11 of the Human Rights Act, European Convention of Human Rights, the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and its current and potential impact on dealing with parading in Northern Ireland. Speakers Rev. Mervyn Gibson (Grand Orange Lodge), Neil Jarman (QUB), Brian Gormally (CAJ) and a representative of agencies dealing with parading. Free and lunch provided.

8pm in White’s Tavern –Inspired by Seamus Heaney’s poem From a Republic of Conscience, poets will share their work along with a poem on human rights that particularly inspires them. Free and with wine courtesy of Irish Pages.

Friday 11 December

1pm in the Black Box – A panel will the impact of the NI Human Rights Act and its long term future given current government plans to scrap the legislation. What has the Human Rights Act Ever Done for Us will have contributions from Brice Dickson (QUB), Claire Hanna (SDLP), Alastair Ross (DUP) and Kevin Hanratty (Human Rights Consortium). Free and lunch provided.

6.30pm in Waterstones (Fountain Street) – Marginal Theatre and Poetry NI present Phenomenal Woman: A Celebration of Maya Angelou with readings of Dr Angelou’s poetry and performance of music associated with this famous American civil rights activist and author. Free.

8pm in Sunflower Bar – Aidan Killian: Whistleblowers A passionate one-man show with intelligent comedy about standing up and speaking the truth. The truth will set you free… unless you’re Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden. £8/£5.

Saturday 12 December

2pm in Black Box, Hill Street and Dark Horse – Refugee Welcome Party / Family Day. To close the festival there’s an opportunity to reach out to people who have had to leave most of their belongings, but more importantly their whole community, their friends, culture and history, behind. Show solidarity with the Refugee and Asylum Seeker Community and reach out the hand of friendship. Don’t bring supplies but bring yourselves and your family and join in the music, workshops, food, information and most importantly friendship.

8pm in Sunflower Bar – Refugee Welcome Party / Festival Closing Party. Free in to enjoy the live music in partnership with the West Against Racism Network as long as you’ve brought a present for the child of a refugee.

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