York Celebrates 70 Years of Human Rights

York's human rights film festival in mid-November celebrates the 70th anniversary of the universal declaration of human rights.


The multi-media festival, celebrated at three different venues within the city, runs from 16-18 November and includes live theatre, art and panel discussions as well as four award-winning films.

Liz Lockey, of York Human Rights City, said the organisers sought a multi-media approach to recognise that, while human rights are globally important, they are also locally relevant.

"Many people think of human rights as being something under threat in other countries, that here in the UK our human rights are automatically sacrosanct. It is true that we in the UK are better off than many other countries. Nevertheless there are frontiers in the UK where people's rights are challenged, where they are discriminated against on a daily basis. It's necessary to raise awareness for those people, for those communities, and let their voices be heard.


"Two of the films, which were shot within the UK, are being screened on the Saturday at John Cooper Studio. We are delighted to screen "The Silent Child", which won Best Oscar for Short Live Action Film, and "Sanctuary", directed by Len Collin, who will hold a Director's Q&A after the film."


The Silent Child tells the story of a young girl, who was born deaf, whose world opens up when an understanding social worker helps her learn to communicate. Sanctuary tells the story of two young adults, who happen to have disabilities, who want to be together must then challenge a system that seeks to keep them apart.

"These two films demonstrate UDHR Article 2, the right to freedom from discrimination. The right to education, Article 26 is relevant to The Silent Child and Article 16, the right to marriage, is illustrated in Sanctuary," says Liz.


The other two films are international. Wadjda was the first-ever film from Saudi Arabia to be directed by a woman, and tells the story of a girl who wants to save up money to buy her own bicycle so she enters a competition for reciting the Koran. Wadjda is the film which ends the festival and is screened at The Mount School.


True Warriors, the film which opens the festival at The Art Of Protest gallery, tells the true and harrowing story of a group of artists from Afghanistan whose live theatrical performance in Kabul, looking at the tyranny of suicide bombings, was itself targeted by a suicide bomber. The film, which was produced in Germany, is making its UK debut. The screening is followed by a panel discussion on human rights and peace-building.

Two Rivers Radio will record their monthly "Ask York" panel discussion on the Saturday, and the piece will be broadcast on Monday 3 December to mark the International Day for Persons with Disabilities.

Once Scene Theatre Company will perform a piece of live theatre, "Once Upon A Parliament" which uses the fairytale archetype and voiceless damsels, cutting royalty and benefit balls to help us understand how everyone, from government to neighbourhoods, is responsible for supporting adults with learning difficulties to achieve full citizenship.


York's nationally recognised Independent State School Partnership collaborated with York Human Rights City on a series of workshops for young people where they recorded their reflections on what they had learned about human rights. Reflections on Human Rights shows a series of short films created by this group of young people. The screening takes place at The Mount School.

Tickets for all events are now available via Eventbrite https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/york-human-rights-city-17121152966