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17th International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights

8-17 March 2019, Geneva

The Geneva International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights (FIFDH) is the leading international event on cinema and human rights. During the period of this years’ main session of the UN Human Rights Council, the 17th edition of the Festival offers a versatile selection of: films and debates, readings, conferences, photography, a hackathon, illustrations and theatre, alongside activities for younger audiences, in 62 different locations in Greater Geneva and French-speaking Switzerland.

This edition will open on March 8th on the occasion of International Women’s Day, with a film dedicated to Nadia Murad, Nobel Peace Prize 2018, in the presence of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and Swiss Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. Three human rights defenders, Hajer Sharief (Libya), Tatiana Pechonchyk (Ukraine) and Sareta Ashraph (Iraq), will highlight the obstacles encountered in their daily struggles.

On Saturday, March 9, Interpeace and the FIFDH will co-host the event: “South Sudan: World’s Youngest Nation at the Crossroads to Peace”. Acclaimed actor and director, Forest Whitaker, will be joined by young activist, Magdalena Nandege, to address peacebuilding issues in South Sudan in a panel discussion moderated by Interpeace’s President, Scott M. Weber. Together they will present the “Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative Trailer Film”and discuss the most pressing issues of the youngest country in the world – what are the strategies and actions necessary to guarantee peace and prevent human rights violations? Forest Whitaker’s NGO, the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI) established the Youth Peacemaker Network in South Sudan in 2012. This programme seeks to strengthen the leadership capacity of former child soldiers, orphans and youth impacted by conflicts and violence in South Sudan. The objective is to empower youth with peacebuilding and conflict management skills.

On Sunday, March 17, Interpeace will co-host the event “Guatemala: For Memory, Against Impunity”. Joined by the World Organization Against Torture, Casa Allianza, the Geneva Solidarity Delegation and the Right Livelihood Award, the documentary film “Burden of Peace”, directed by Joey Boink from the Netherlands will be presented. The film illustrates the work of Guatemala’s first female Attorney General, Claudia Paz y Paz, and her fight against impunity, as she seeks to bring justice to the crimes committed during the armed conflict.

Among the 300 expected guests, actors Forest Whitaker and Aïssa Maïga, artist Ai Weiwei, writers Roberto Saviano, Leïla Slimani, Laurent Gaudé and Uzodinma Iweala, filmmakers Rithy Panh, Petra Costa, Amos Gitaï and Fernando Perez Valdes, web creator Tim Berners-Lee, sociologist Saskia Sassen, activist and Syrian refugee Sara Mardini, jurist and feminist activist Ratna Kapur, journalists Lyse Doucet (BBC), Nadia Daam ( and ARTE) and Lenaïg Bredoux (Mediapart), former President of the Swiss Confederation Ruth Dreifuss, Sundance Festival Programmer Hussain Currimbhoy and Pat Mitchell, the first woman president of CBS will attend this edition. The Festival will be closed by French author Édouard Louis. Over 36 000 festival-goers are expected.