Britain and the EU’s response to Mediterranean migrant deaths

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On Thursday, 10 December, starting at 6.30pm at the Secular Hall on Humberstone Gate in Leicester, Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Programmes Adviser for Humanitarian Issues, Sandrine Tiller will give a presentation on Britain and the EU’s response to the Mediterranean migrant deaths.

Sandrine Tiller will be speaking alongside MSF nurse, Alison Criado-Perez who will give a talk about her experiences working on search and rescue boats in the Central Mediterranean and the work she has done in the past with refugees on the Libyan and Syrian borders.

Michaela Smith and Sophie Cottis-Allan who are part of LE Solidarity, a local group, will also talk about how, since last summer, they have been collecting supplies and taking them to the people who are looking for refuge and are currently stuck in camps in Calais, Dunkirk and four other sites along the French north coast.

Another speaker who is involved in refugee relief efforts in Greece might also be joining the panel through Skype.

The event, which is being held as part of the Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival, will be chaired by Somali Development Services managing director, Jawaahir Daahir.

Festival organiser, Ambrose Musiyiwa said: “This year alone, over 3,000 men, women and children have drowned trying to reach Europe.

“We hope that this event will encourage people to do all that they can to ensure that those seeking refuge get the support they need.”

The Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival starts on 4 December runs through to 10 December every year. It explores human rights issues through presentations, discussions, music, film and The Arts.

It aims to draw attention to International Human Rights Day which is celebrated annually, across the world, on December 10 and to give people in Leicester a platform through which to engage with human rights issues at home and abroad.

This year the festival has also been fundraising for groups and charities that provide assistance and support to people who have fled conflict and persecution and are looking for places of refuge and safety.

Notes:

1. For more information, on Britain and the EU’s response to the Mediterranean migrant deaths, see https://www.facebook.com/events/193131071021975/.

2. Admission, attendance or entry to the presentation is free.

3. For more information on the Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival, contact Ambrose Musiyiwa at email address amusiyiwa@googlemail.com or telephone 07814 368606.

4. For a copy of the programme for the 2015 Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival blog https://hraffl.wordpress.com/2015/11/30/4-10-december-2015-the-leicester-human-rights-arts-and-film-festival-various-venues-leicester/.

5. See also the festival’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/HRAFFL/posts/886552304768738.

6. For information on Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), see http://www.msf.org.uk.

7. For information on LE Solidarity, see https://www.facebook.com/groups/484063968431994/.

Leicester political parties to debate future of Human Rights Act

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On Wednesday, 9 December 2015, as part of the Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival, political parties that have a presence in Leicester will take part in a public debate on whether Britain should retain or replace the Human Rights Act.

The debate will take place at The Race Equality Centre (TREC) on Upper Brown Street and be chaired by TREC chief executive officer, Iris Lightfoote.

Festival organiser, Ambrose Musiyiwa said: “Although a lot has been said on whether Britain should retain or replace the Human Rights Act, a lot of that discussion has been taking place in parliament, in national newspapers, on the radio and on TV. Very little of that discussion has been taking place in communities.

“One of the reasons behind this year’s debate is to encourage publicly accessible inter-party debate in Leicester on issues of local and national significance.

“The debate will also give attendees the chance to put questions to political parties on the various positions they are taking on the matter.”

The Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival started on 4 December and will run through to 10 December and explores human rights issues through presentations, discussions, music, film and The Arts.

It aims to draw attention to International Human Rights Day which is celebrated annually, across the world, on December 10 and to give people in Leicester a platform through which to engage with human rights issues at home and abroad.

The festival is also fundraising for groups and charities that provide assistance to people who have fled conflict and persecution and are looking for places of refuge and sanctuary.

The festival will culminate in a presentation on Britain and the EU’s response to the Mediterranean migrant deaths. The presentation will be held at the Secular Hall on December 10.

Notes:

1. For more information, on the political parties’ debate, see <https://www.facebook.com/events/542837505882400/&gt;.

2. Admission, attendance or entry to the presentation is free.

3. For more information on the Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival, contact Ambrose Musiyiwa at email address <amusiyiwa@googlemail.com> or telephone 07814 368606.

4. For a copy of the draft programme for the 2015 Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival, see the festival’s Facebook page <https://www.facebook.com/HRAFFL/posts/886552304768738&gt; or blog <https://hraffl.wordpress.com&gt;.

5. For a video of the political parties’ debate on the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) at last year’s festival, see <https://youtu.be/YQFfxrUUKP8&gt;.

Festival turns spotlight on what the anti-apartheid picket can teach human rights defenders

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On Tuesday, 8 December at 6.30pm, Dr Gavin Brown, a senior lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Leicester, will be giving a talk, as part of the Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival, at the Secular Hall on Humberstone Gate in Leicester, exploring what anti-apartheid campaigning in the 1980s can teach human rights defenders today.

For four years in the 1980s, anti-apartheid activists established a Non-Stop Picket outside the South African Embassy in Trafalgar Square which called for Nelson Mandela’s release and expressed solidarity with those who opposed apartheid. The picket ran from 1986 until Nelson Mandela’s release in 1990.

Dr Gavin Brown said: “People had been protesting outside the South African embassy since the 1960s; but in the mid-1980s, it became the focus of continuous anti-apartheid protests.

“As a permanent protest, the Non-Stop Picket drew in campaigners from all walks of life, and gave people the opportunity to fit their campaigning around their other commitments. The South Africans put enormous pressure on the British government to ban the protest. The Non-Stop Picket only survived because it was highly organised and its supporters were prepared to defy every attempt to curtail their protests.

“Some of the Picket’s successes were specific to the anti-apartheid cause and the location of South Africa House, but I believe there are many practical and political lessons from the Non-Stop Picket which are relevant for human rights campaigners today.”

As part of Dr Brown’s presentation, there will also be a photo exhibition outlining the history of the picket. The exhibition will chart the history of the Non-Stop Picket and some of the key events that occurred there over the four years of its existence.

Festival organiser, Ambrose Musiyiwa said: “Apartheid in South Africa institutionalised racial discrimination. How anti-apartheid activists responded to that injustice and brought about change is a fitting contribution to the festival because of what they can teach human rights defenders in Leicester and abroad.”

The Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival runs from 4 December through to 10 December.

It aims to draw attention to International Human Rights Day which is celebrated annually, across the world, on December 10; and to give people in Leicester a platform through which to engage with human rights issues at home and abroad through film, music and The Arts.

The festival will also be fundraising for groups and charities that provide support to men, women and children who have fled conflict and persecution and are looking for refuge.

Notes:

1. For more information, on What the anti-apartheid picket can teach human rights defenders, see https://www.facebook.com/events/419969951529449/

2. To contact Dr Gavin Brown email <gpb10@le.ac.uk> or telephone 0116 252 3858.

3. Admission, attendance or entry to the presentation is free.

4. Event organisers suggest attendees donate £3 at the door which donations will go to a group or charity that’s supporting people who are looking for refuge.

5. For more information on the Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival, contact Ambrose Musiyiwa at email address <amusiyiwa@googlemail.com> or telephone 07814 368606.

6. For a copy of the draft programme for the 2015 Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival, see the festival’s Facebook page <https://www.facebook.com/HRAFFL/posts/886552304768738&gt; or blog <https://hraffl.wordpress.com&gt;.

Over Land, Over Sea: poems for those seeking refuge [Book Launch]

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Over Land Over Sea - Book LaunchOver Land, Over Sea: poems for those seeking refuge, an anthology of poems published by Five Leaves Publishing will be launched, as part of the Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival, at the Secular Hall on Humberstone Gate in Leicester on Monday 7 December 2015 from 6.30pm.

There will also be other launch events in Nottingham and other towns and cities over the next few weeks and months.

Copies of the anthology are being sold to raise funds for Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Leicester City of Sanctuary and the Nottingham Refugee Forum, charities working in support of refugees.

A crowdfunder project was set up to cover printing and distribution costs so sales will directly benefit the charities.

From 204 poems by poets living in the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Sweden, Iran, USA and Australia, 101 poems were selected for the anthology by an editorial panel of three East Midlands based poets, Kathleen Bell, Emma Lee and Siobhan Logan.

Kathleen Bell lives in Nottingham, teaches at De Montfort University and her poetry pamphlet At the Memory Exchange (Oystercatcher, 2014) was shortlisted for the Saboteur Awards.

Emma Lee, who lives in Scraptoft, Leicestershire, has published three poetry collections, most recently Ghosts in the Desert (Indigo Dreams, 2015), and writes poetry reviews.

Siobhan Logan lives in Leicester, has published two poetry collections with Original Plus and performed her poems at Leicester’s National Space Centre and the Science Museum in London.

Emma Lee said: “The standard of submissions was very high and it was difficult to choose poems for Over Land, Over Sea. Poems came from established poets as well as those who were prompted to write in response to the current refugee situation.

“We were looking for poems that will engage with readers without being preachy or unremittingly gloomy. We also wanted poems that looked at all aspects of a refugee’s journey and worked well with other selected poems to produce a coherent collection.

“The crowdfunding project was set up to raise funds to cover the printing and distribution costs for the anthology. The editorial panel, typesetter and publisher have worked on a voluntary basis to keep costs as low as possible. In addition we are grateful for a community grant of £200 from the Everybody’s Reading Festival and a donation from Mouths Wide Shut, who collected money during a spoken word event in London. We have now raised funds to cover costs so sales will directly benefit the charities involved.

“The project doesn’t end with the publication of Over Land, Over Sea: Poems for those seeking refuge. There will be launch events in the East Midlands and beyond, featuring local poets in the anthology, as well as a blog associated with the anthology. The launch events will also include further fundraising opportunities.”

The project was initiated with a Facebook Group, Poets in Solidarity with Refugees, which brought together local writers, live literature promoters and people working with refugees to publish an anthology and promote it through launch events and social media.

Over Land, Over Sea: Poems for those seeking refuge is available from Five Leaves Bookshop in Nottingham and online.

Ambrose Musiyiwa who organises the Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival said: “We are delighted that Over Land, Over Sea is being launched as part of the Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival. The sheer range of talent that the anthology brings together and how those voices speak to each other and to the issues are all part of what make the anthology one of the best of its kind.

“The poets remind us that those who are seeking refuge are human beings, people.

“The anthology fits very well with the Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival which aims to draw attention to International Human Rights Day which is celebrated annually, across the world, on December 10.

“The festival gives people in Leicester a platform through which to engage with human rights issues at home and abroad.

“The festival will also be fundraising for groups and charities that assist people who have fled conflict and persecution and are looking for refuge.

“The festival will culminate in a presentation on Britain and the EU’s response to the Mediterranean migrant deaths.”

Notes:

1. For more information on Over Land, Over Sea: Poems for those seeking refuge, see http://fiveleavesbookshop.co.uk/over-land-over-sea/

2. For part of the backstory to the anthology, see http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/poems-4-people-anthology-in-solidarity-wrefugees

3. For more information on the Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival, contact Ambrose Musiyiwa at email address. <amusiyiwa@googlemail.com> or mobile number .

4. Poets in Solidarity with Refugees Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1638620103072868/

5. Leicester City of Sanctuary (registered charity 1138017) works locally to support refugees, offering advice, welcome packs and opportunites for refugees to improve their language skills and integrate with local communities.

6. Nottingham Refugee Form (registered charity no 1121560) provide advice, support and programmes to help refugees develop confidence, skills and knowledge to rebuild their lives and integrate into society.

7. MSF (registered charity number 1026588) help people worldwide into delivering emergency medical aid to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters or exclusion from healthcare.

Leicester gets set for Music without Borders 2

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Music without Borders 2More than 13 Leicester-based musicians, bands and spoken word artists will be performing at Music without Borders 2, an event in solidarity with the men, women and children who are in Calais and those who are using the Mediterranean in an effort to find places of safety.

The event which takes place on Sunday, 6 December 2015, will be held at The Soundhouse Leicester at 28 Southampton Street in Leicester. It starts at 4pm and runs till 11pm.

The event will be fundraising for Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) as well as acting as a drop-off/collection point for groceries and supermarket vouchers that will go to the British Red Cross in Oadby.

The bands and artists who are taking part in Music without Borders 2 include Multimorph; The Black Soul Saints; Blue Skies In June; Ruthie Coles; Not My Good Arm; Beth Hartshorne; Lossy; Luke Broughton; Bobba Cass; Marcus Joseph; Andrew Lee; James Cull, and Sheila Mosley.

The event is being held as part of the Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival.

Festival organiser Ambrose Musiyiwa said: “Music without Borders 2 will be fundraising for Doctors without Borders in recognition of the crucial, frontline support that the organisation’s staff and volunteers are lending to people who are using the Mediterranean in an effort to find places of safety.

“The event will also be acting as a collection or drop-off point for groceries and supermarket vouchers that will go to the British Red Cross in Oadby which is currently assisting over 1,200 vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers, over half of whom are destitute.”

The Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival runs from 4 December through to 10 December and features art, music, presentations and debates on a range of topics concerning human rights at home and abroad.

The festival will culminate in a presentation on Britain and the EU’s response to the Mediterranean migrant deaths. The presentation will be held at the Secular Hall on December 10.

Notes:

1. For more information, contact Ambrose Musiyiwa at email address. <amusiyiwa@googlemail.com> or mobile number 07814368606.

2. Admission, attendance or entry is free.

3. Event organisers suggest attendees donate £3 at the door which donations will go to Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

4. For more information on Music without Borders 2, see https://www.facebook.com/events/1630775083855171/

5. For a copy of the draft programme for the 2015 Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival, see the festival’s Facebook page <https://www.facebook.com/HRAFFL/posts/886552304768738&gt; or blog <https://hraffl.wordpress.com&gt;.

Songs from the Shadows: a solo piano recital

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Songs from the Shadows
The desperate plight of millions of refugees caught up in the war raging across the Middle East, has inspired local doctor and musician, Cameron Roberts to help.

City resident, Dr Roberts, who works out of both the General hospital and Royal Infirmary in the city, is organising a concert in which he himself will perform, on December 5 at New Walk Museum. to raise funds for the Red Cross Refugee Crisis Appeal.

The concert is taking place as part of the Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival 2015.

Dr Roberts, an accomplished concert pianist, who has performed around the world, wants to use his talent to raise £1,000 for the appeal.

Cameron Roberts said: “It’s so easy to ignore that the human catastrophe in the Middle East is occurring. But one only has to scratch the surface of the media to see that the scale of human suffering of the people there is immense. How can one be human and ignore it. These are people with names, with lives, with courage. The world is small, we are all connected. We should all be helping – each in our own way.

“We easily forget, too, the contributions refugees have made to our lives. My concert on December 5th features music by well-known composers who were themselves either refugees or affected by war in a direct way. These refugees helped to shape the history of 20th century music; Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Debussy, Chopin, Stravinsky, Gershwin, Weill, Schoenberg.”

The concert commences at 5.30pm until 6.45pm on Saturday 5 December and tickets can be purchased on the door at £10 each (£5 student/concessions) or pre-ordered by contacting info@cameronroberts.com.au>

Roma History, Migration and Human Rights

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The presentation on Roma History, Migration and Human Rights that was scheduled to take place at Duffy’s Bar on 5 December 2015 will now take place on 8 April 2016 to mark International Romani Day.

The time, venue and programme for the event will be announced closer to the date.

As part of the event, Open Society Institute (OSI) European Roma Rights in Action project officer and president of Roma Education Support Trust (REST), Denisa Psenickova will talk about who the Roma are, where they are coming from, and the reasons behind Roma migration.

Psenickova will also give an overview of the historical and current situation concerning the Roma and their rights as people.

For more information on the International Romani Day, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Romani_Day

See also, Patrin’s ‘Timeline of Romani History’, see <https://web.archive.org/web/20071111142247/http://www.geocities.com/Paris/5121/timeline.htm>.

*Notes:

For more information, see the Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival facebook page https://www.facebook.com/HRAFFL/posts/886552304768738 or blog https://hraffl.wordpress.com/programme/.

 

4-10 December 2015: The Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival; Various Venues, Leicester

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This year, the Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival runs from December 4 through to December 10.

The festival will feature art, film, music, presentations and debates on a range of issues concerning human rights, Leicester, Britain and the world.

The programme currently looks like this:

04/12/15 (6.30pm – 8.30pm, Secular Hall): Human Rights in the Time of Austerity (Panel discussion/ presentation): Speakers include: Baroness Ruth Lister (Labour Peer, Emeritus Professor of Social Policy at Loughborough University and Chair of the Compass Management Committee), Ed Fordham (former Chair of LGBT+ Lib Dems and a member of the Liberal Democrats’ International Relations Committee, and  Dr Maria Rovisco (Lecturer in Media and Communication, University of Leicester). Mathew Hulbert chairing https://www.facebook.com/events/489853737854111/

04/12/15 (8.00pm till late, Pi Bar​): Metal for Refugees: a metal music gig in solidarity with those seeking refuge featuring Leicester-based metal bands, Urethra Franklin, Ubiquitous and Alpha State https://www.facebook.com/events/1664287693843765/

06/12/15 (4.00pm – 11.00pm, The Soundhouse Leicester​): Music without Borders 2: an event in solidarity with refugees featuring some of Leicester’s finest musicians, poets and spoken word artists https://www.facebook.com/events/1630775083855171/

07/12/15 (6.30pm – 8.30pm, Secular Hall): Over Land, Over Sea: Poems for those seeking refuge [Book Launch] Featuring an introductory talk on why and how the anthology started; readings from featured poets; and, an open mic slot) https://www.facebook.com/events/976516562420157/

08/12/15 (6.30pm – 8.30pm, Secular Hall): What the anti-apartheid picket can teach human rights defenders (Presentation & Photo Exhibition) Dr Gavin Brown, a senior lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Leicester, talks about what the anti-apartheid picket can teach human rights defenders https://www.facebook.com/events/419969951529449/

09/12/15 (6.30pm – 8.30pm, TREC): Should Britain retain or replace the Human Rights Act? (Political Parties’ debate) Political parties that have a presence in Leicester debate whether Britain should retain or replace the Human Rights Act. Iris Lightfoote chairing https://www.facebook.com/events/542837505882400/

10/12/15 (6.30pm – 8.30pm, Secular Hall): Britain and the EU’s response to the Mediterranean migrant deaths (Panel event) The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that, in 2005 alone, over 3,000 men, women and children have drowned trying to reach Europe. Could these deaths have been prevented? Is Europe doing enough to prevent deaths like these? What role is Britain playing in all this? https://www.facebook.com/events/193131071021975/

The festival will also be fundraising for groups or charities that works with people who are looking for refuge.

For more information, see the Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival facebook page https://www.facebook.com/HRAFFL/posts/886552304768738 or blog https://hraffl.wordpress.com/programme/

Festival turns spotlight on the impact of austerity on human rights

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Britain’s austerity measures and their effect on human rights at home and around the world will be the subject of a panel event that is going to be held at the Secular Hall on December 4 as part of the Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival.

The event, titled Human Rights in the Time of Austerity, starts at 6.30pm, and will feature contributions from a number of eminent speakers who include Labour Peer, Emeritus Professor of Social Policy at Loughborough University and Chair of the Compass Management Committee, Baroness Ruth Lister; former Chair of LGBT+ Lib Dems and a member of the Liberal Democrats’ International Relations Committee, Ed Fordham; and University of Leicester Lecturer in Media and Communication, Dr Maria Rovisco.

The panelists will give presentations on human rights and austerity and have a conversation around the topic and the questions it raises. They will also take questions from the audience on the topic.

In their presentations, the speakers will discuss whether or not the government’s austerity agenda needs to change as well as look at what needs to be done to ensure that human rights and fundamental freedoms remain protected.

The event will be chaired by former Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Councillor, Mathew Hulbert.

Mathew Hulbert said, ”There’s never been a more important time to discuss the impact of austerity on human rights, both domestically and internationally.

“We’ve put together a top-notch panel who will, we’re sure, provide very thoughtful context, analysis and comment. We also look forward to hearing the thoughts and questions of those who come along to be in the audience.’

”As we fight to ensure our human rights are protected, this is a critical moment to have this conversation. I encourage everyone interested in this most important public and political issue to come along and be part of it.”

Festival organiser, Ambrose Musiyiwa said: “The festival aims to draw attention to International Human Rights Day which is celebrated annually, across the world, on December 10.

“The festival will give people in Leicester a platform through which to engage with human rights issues at home and abroad.

“The festival will also be fundraising for groups and charities that provide support to men, women and children who have fled conflict and persecution and are looking for refuge.”

Notes:

For a copy of the draft programme for the 2015 Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival, see the festival’s Facebook page <https://www.facebook.com/HRAFFL/posts/886552304768738> or blog <https://hraffl.wordpress.com>.

Leicester metal music bands to stage show in solidarity with people who are seeking refuge

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Urethra Franklin and Ubiquitous, two Leicester-based metal music bands will be performing at Metal for Refugees, an event that is being held at Pi Bar on Norman Street on December 4 as part of the Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival.

The performance, which starts at 7pm and runs till late, is being held in solidarity with people who are seeking refuge and will be fundraising for Leicester City of Sanctuary.

Event organiser, Nerissa Fields said: “The Iraqi heavy metal band Acrassicauda, which formed in 2001, received death threats after the Iraq regime change. The band fled first to Syria and then to Turkey before being granted refugee status in America.

“Eagles of Death metal were playing in Paris when over 100 people were shot at their gig. A few days later, they said, ‘Love overshadows evil.’

“One of the most important aspects of metal, as with all musical genres, is being able to express yourself and having the freedom to do so without prejudice.

“It is a human right to be able to play the music you want to play.”

Urethra Franklin, a three piece band, plays a mix of Thrash, Death, Heavy and Power Metal while Ubiquitous combines elements from Death, Black, and Melodic Death Metal.

The bands deliver an angry and energetic fist to the face of the listener.

The Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival runs from December 4 through to December 10.

The festival will feature performances, music, poetry, discussions and presentations, all of which will deal with aspects of human rights.

The festival will take place at venues that include the Secular Hall, the Race Equality Centre, Pi Bar, Duffy’s Bar, and The Soundhouse Leicester.

Festival organiser, Ambrose Musiyiwa said: “The festival aims to draw attention to International Human Rights Day which is celebrated annually, across the world, on December 10.

“The festival will give people in Leicester a platform through which to engage with human rights issues at home and abroad.

“The festival will also be fundraising for groups and charities that provide support to men, women and children who have fled conflict and persecution and are looking for refuge.”

NOTES:

For a copy of the draft programme for the 2015 Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival, see the festival’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/HRAFFL/posts/886552304768738 or blog <https://hraffl.wordpress.com>.