Festival turns spotlight on human rights issues for third year in a row

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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 a letter writing campaign, music, poetry, discussions, presentations and a petition, all of which will deal with aspects of human rights.

The festival takes place at venues that include the Secular Hall, the Race Equality Centre, and Duffy’s Bar.

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.

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

“The festival will also be fundraising for After18 and LE Solidarity. After18 supports children who are seeking refuge who are in the UK and LE Solidarity supports people who are fleeing conflict and persecution and who are in places like Dunkirk in the north of France.”

This year’s festival opens on December 4 with an invitation to those who are interested to write or email their MPs and councillors and let them know what they think about issues such as the British Army’s increasing presence in some Leicester schools; how the army is displaying military hardware and weapons in public spaces; how it is letting children play with guns in the city centre at army recruitment events; and whether or not the age at which young people can join the army should be raised from 16 to 18 years.

This will be followed by an event that takes place at the Secular Hall on December 5 at which Elizabeth Banner will explore the extent to which cycling can build bridges between communities. The event will also feature a performance by Red Leicester Choir; and “Life Cycles”, a choreopoem by Kevan Manwaring which explores the pleasures of cycling.

On December 6, at the Secular Hall, there will be a panel event that will look at transgender issues at home and abroad. Speakers include Dr Nayia Kamenou, a Lecturer in Social Work at De Montfort University; Dr Zowie Davy, a Senior Lecturer in LGBTQ Research also at De Montfort University; and Paul Fitzgerald, the East Midlands Ambulance Service’s Equality and Diversity Manager.

Dr Kamenou will be speaking on the institutionalisation of Trans discrimination in Cyprus; Dr Davy on the approaches different countries are using in order to develop social and health policies to meet the needs of people who are transgender; and Paul Fitzgerald will talk about transgender issues in relation to the ambulance service.

On December 7, the festival joins Save the Children UK in calling on world leaders to do more for children who are fleeing conflict, violence and persecution and will be asking those who are interested to sign and share a Save the Children petition with the same request.

On December 8, Leicester Friends of the Earth presents a panel event, at the Secular Hall, exploring the connection between human rights and climate change. Michaela Smith, Chris Walker and Dr Maria Rovisco will be speaking at the event.

Michaela Smith has worked as a translator and travelled extensively in Latin America. She is now a full-time activist and works on campaigns against fracking and the arms trade and on campaigns supporting refugees. Chris Walker works at Quaker Peace and Social Witness, coordinating and supporting action for climate justice. He has also worked for Global Justice Now as a campaigner for just and sustainable food and energy systems around the world. Dr Maria Rovisco is a Lecturer in Media and Communication at the University of Leicester.

This will be followed by a political parties debate that will take place on December 9, at the Race Equality Centre. The debate will look at Britain and the European Union’s response to the refugee crisis. Natalie Bennett (Green Party), Mathew Hulbert (Lib Dems), a representative from the Labour Party as well as representatives from other political parties that have a presence in Leicester will be speaking at the event.

The festival will culminate in Music without Borders 3, an event in solidarity with children who are seeking refuge which will take place at Duffy’s Bar on December 10. In addition to being a fundraiser for After18 and LE Solidarity, Music without Borders 3 will also be a drop-off point for items of groceries that will go to the Read Cross in Oadby.

Notes:

The programme for the 2016 Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival is accessible on the festival’s blog and Facebook page.

Music without Borders 3 – an event in solidarity with children who are seeking refuge

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More than 16 Leicester-based musicians, bands and spoken word artists will be performing at Music without Borders 3, an event in solidarity with children who are seeking refuge.

The event which takes place on Saturday, 10 December 2016, will be held at Duffy’s Bar at 18 Pocklingtons Walk in Leicester. It starts at 2pm and runs till 10pm.

December 10 is also Human Rights Day.

Music without Borders 3 will be fundraising for After18 and LE Solidarity 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 3 include: Beth Hartshorne; Carise Zangerle Murray; David Mottram; Dust & Debris; James Cull; Jesse Wright; Kevin Hewick; Lee Spencer; Loosy; Multimorph; Nile Kaemen McGregor; Orange; Pale Blue Dot; Restless, Rifferama and Hard Backbeats; Ruthie Coles; and Zeropence Musick.

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

Notes:
[1] A playlist of videos from Music without Borders 2 which was held as part of last year’s festival is accessible here.
[2] The programme for the 2016 Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival is accessible here and on the festival’s Facebook page.

Britain & the EU’s response to the refugee crisis – Political Parties’ Debate

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On Day 6 of the 2016 Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival, at the Race Equality Centre on Upper Brown Street, political parties that have a presence in Leicester will debate Britain and the European Union’s response to the refugee crisis.

The debate starts at 6.30pm and aims to encourage publicly accessible inter-party debate on the matter and to find out if there are ways to ensure that Britain and the EU do all that they can to prevent the deaths, hardship, distress and suffering that are inherent in the crisis.

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

All political parties that have a presence in Leicester have been invited to field speakers. So far, those who have confirmed they will be taking part include Natalie Bennett (Green Party), Mathew Hulbert (Lib Dems) and the Labour Party.

Notes:

[1] The description above is provisional and will be updated as more invited speakers confirm attendance.
[2] Admission, attendance or entry is free.
[3] Event organisers suggest attendees donate £3 at the door which donations will go to After18 which supports children who are seeking refuge in Britain and LE Solidarity which supports people in refugee camps on the north of France.
[4] The programme for the 2016 Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival is accessible here and on the festival’s Facebook page
[5] A playlist of videos from the political parties’ debate that was held as part of last year’s festival is accessible here

Human Rights & Climate Change: Where do they meet?

On December 8, as part of the 2016 Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival, Leicester Friends of the Earth is hosting a discussion about the connection between climate change and human rights issues.

Michaela Smith, Chris Walker and Dr Maria Rovisco will be speaking at the event.

Michaela Smith has worked as a translator and travelled extensively in Latin America. She is now a full-time activist and works on campaigns against fracking and the arms trade and on campaigns supporting refugees.

Chris Walker works at Quaker Peace and Social Witness, coordinating and supporting action for climate justice. He has also worked for Global Justice Now as a campaigner for just and sustainable food and energy systems around the world.

Dr Maria Rovisco is a Lecturer in Media and Communication at the University of Leicester. She is particularly interested in the ways in which the arts can tackle shared global problems around sustainability and climate change.

Event organiser, Hannah Wakley says, “We will also be singing a song as an act of solidarity for the people of Standing Rock at the end of the evening. Jane from Red Leicester Choir will teach us ‘I am a river’ and it will be filmed to send to Standing Rock as a message of support.”

Notes:

[1] Admission, attendance or entry is free.
[2] Event organisers suggest attendees donate £3 at the door which donations will be divided equally between After18; LE Solidarity; and Leicester Friends of the Earth.
[3] More information on Leicester Friends of the Earth is accessible here and on the group’s Facebook page
[4] The programme for the 2016 Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival is accessible here and on the festival’s Facebook page.
[5] For a playlist of videos from a similar event that was held as part of last year’s Human Rights Arts and Film Festival, see Dr Gavin Brown‘s “What the anti-apartheid picket can teach human rights defenders“. 

Is Britain doing enough for children who are seeking refuge?

There are currently 26,000 children who are either on the move or in makeshift refugee camps in places like those in Lesbos (Greece) and Dunkirk (France).

There are also some children who have been born either at sea or in the camps. And, over the past two years, an estimated 2,400 children have died trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.

Are Britain and Europe doing enough for children seeking refuge?

On Day 4 of the 2016 Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival, we join Save the Children UK in calling on world leaders to do more for children who are fleeing conflict, violence and persecution.

What you can do:

[1] Sign and share this Save the Children petition
[2] Find out how you can support the work After18 is doing with children who are seeking refuge
[3] Find out how you can support the work LE Solidarity is doing

Notes:

[1] The programme for the 2016 Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival is available here and on the festival’s Facebook page.

Transgender, at Home and Abroad

Transgender, at Home and Abroad will look at issues around transgender people at home and beyond, and at what can or what ought to be done about the issues.

The event will be held at the Secular Hall on December 6 as part of the 2016 Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival and starts at 6.30pm.

As part of the event, Dr Nayia Kamenou, a VC2020 Lecturer in Social Work at De Montfort University, will give a presentation on the institutionalisation of Trans discrimination in Cyprus and how the Greek-Cypriot trans community is responding to and dealing with institutional and social discrimination.

Dr Zowie Davy, a Senior Lecturer in LGBTQ Research at De Montfort University, will look at legal gender recognition laws in a number of countries and at the different approaches different countries are using in order to develop social and health policies to meet the needs of people who are transgender.

And Paul Fitzgerald, the East Midlands Ambulance Service’s Equality and Diversity Manager will also be speaking at the event and will give a presentation on the contact the ambulance service has with people who are transgender and the guidelines that have been produced for frontline staff.

There is also a possibility Leicestershire Police will be giving a presentation, as part of the event, on the Leicestershire Police perspective on transgender issues.

The speakers will also take part in a discussion and Q&A session with those present on the issues raised.

Notes:

[1] More details about the event will be given closer to the date of the event.

[2] Admission, attendance or entry is free.

[3] Event organisers suggest attendees donate £3 which donations will be divided equally between After18 which supports unaccompanied children who are seeking refuge in Britain; LE Solidarity which supports people in refugee camps on the north of France; and a Leicester-based project that supports transgender people.

[4] The programme for the 2016 Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival is accessible here and on the festival’s Facebook page.

Can Cycling build Bridges between Communities?

leicester-critical-mass-and-leicester-for-peaceLeicester is celebrated for its plurality, diversity and community cohesion. But, how connected are the communities that make up the city? And can cycling build bridges between the communities?

Elizabeth Barner will take us on a tour of the issues at an event that is going to be held on December 5 as part of the 2016 Leicester Human rights Arts and Film Festival.

The event will be held at the Secular Hall on Humberstone Gate and starts at 6.30pm.

The event will also feature “Life Cycles”, a choreopoem by Kevan Manwaring which explores the pleasures of cycling. The poem which was commissioned by Leicestershire County Council as part of the University of Leicester’s Centre for News Writing activities was first presented at Literary Leicester 2016 and will be read by Rob Jones and Ellie Johnson.

Red Leicester Choir will be performing at the event as well.

Notes:

[1] Admission, attendance or entry is free.

[2] Event organisers suggest attendees donate £3 which donations will be divided equally between After18 which supports unaccompanied children who are seeking refuge in Britain; LE Solidarity which supports people in refugee camps on the north of France; and a Leicester-based project that is concerned with cycling.

[3] A programme for the 2016 Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival is accessible here and on the festival’s Facebook page

Is the British Army selling war to children?

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Is the British Army selling war to children?

Army recruitment officers have been routinely setting up camp on Humberstone Gate with guns, tents, dogs, armoured vehicles, parachutes and other military paraphernalia.

They have also been routinely letting children play with guns.

The 2016 Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival, which starts on December 4, opens with an invitation to engage with these and other questions: Is the British Army selling military life to school children? How much of a presence does the army have in schools? Should army recruitment officers be letting children to play with guns and other weapons in public spaces in Leicester?

What you can do:

1. Write or email your councillor and MP and let them know what you think about:

[a] the army’s increasing presence in some Leicester schools
[b] how the army is displaying military hardware and weapons in public spaces
[c] how the army is letting children play with guns in the city centre at army recruitment events, and
[d] whether or not the age at which young people can join the army should be raised from 16 to 18 years.

You can find your councillor’s contact details at: http://bit.ly/1SIats2 and your MP’s at: http://bit.ly/15XKEnp

2. Also let us know what your views are on all of the above by leaving a comment below.

3. Join the Leicester Against War / Leicester For Peace protest that takes place every Friday at the Clock Tower from 5.30pm till 6.30pm: http://bit.ly/1S36NjN

See also:

[i] “Children’s commissioner says youths from deprived backgrounds should not be targeted by Armed Forces“, Herald Scotland, 20 November 2016

[ii] “Stop recruiting children, rights groups tell Ministry of Defence“, Child Soldiers International, 23 May 2016

[iii] “The British Armed Forces need to stop targeting and recruiting children“, The Independent, 29 June 2015

[iv] The military use of children, Wikipedia

[v] The 2016 Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival runs from 4 December through to 10 December. It aims to draw attention to human rights issues at home and abroad.

[v] A draft programme for the 2016 Festival is available here and on Facebook.

The 2016 Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival

The 2016 Programme

The 2016 Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival will start on 4 December and run till 10 December.

Programme*

4 December 2016

Online

Is the British Army Selling War to Children? How much of a presence does the army have in schools? Should army recruitment officers be letting children to play with guns and other weapons in public spaces in Leicester?
5 December 2016

6.30pm – 8.30pm

Secular Hall, 75 Humberstone Gate, Leicester LE1 1WB

Can Cycling Build Bridges Between Communities? Leicester is celebrated for its plurality, diversity and community cohesion. But, how connected are the communities that make up the city? Can cycling build bridges between the communities? Elizabeth Barner takes us on a tour on the issues. As part of the event, there will also be a choreopoem on cycling and a Red Leicester Choir performance.
6 December 2016

6.30pm – 8.30pm

Secular Hall, 75 Humberstone Gate, Leicester LE1 1WB

Transgender, at Home and Abroad: featuring presentations by De Montfort University’s Nayia Kamenou and Zowie Davy, and the East Midlands Ambulance Service’s Equality and Diversity Manager, Paul Fitzgerald, looking at issues people who are transgender face at home and beyond as well as what can or what ought to be done about the issues.
7 December 2016

Online

Is Britain doing enough for children who are seeking refuge? On Day 4 of the 2016 Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival, we join Save the Children UK in calling on world leaders to do more for children who are fleeing conflict, violence and persecution.
8 December 2016

7.00pm – 9.00pm

Secular Hall, 75 Humberstone Gate, Leicester LE1 1WB

Human Rights & Climate Change: Where do they meet? a Leicester Friends of the Earth presentation featuring presentations from environment and social justice campaigner, Michaela Smith; Quaker Peace and Social Witness coordinator, Chris Walker; and University of Leicester Media and Communication lecturer, Dr Maria Rovisco.
9 December 2016

6.30pm – 8.30pm

The Race Equality Centre (TREC), 5-9 Upper Brown St, Leicester LE1 5TE

Britain & the EU’s response to the refugee crisis. Political parties that have a presence in Leicester debate Britain’s and the EU’s response to the refugee crisis and explore ways to ensure that Britain and the EU do all that they can to prevent the deaths, hardship, distress and suffering that are inherent in the crisis.
10 December 2016

2.00pm -10.00pm

Duffy’s Bar, 18 Pocklingtons Walk, Leicester LE1 6BU

Music without Borders 3: an event in solidarity with children who are seeking refuge

*This programme is provisional and can change at short notice as more of the invited speakers and participants confirm attendance.

For more information on the Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival or to get involved, contact Festival Organiser, Ambrose Musiyiwa or visit our Facebook page.

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/.