During the summer of 2008, five groups of Belgian teenagers were chosen by an Amnesty International competition to spend time with human rights defenders across the world.
Each group spent two weeks working with local NGOs to understand the human rights realities on the ground. They went to Guatemala, Burkina Faso, Argentina, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Working with producer Yvon Lammens, the teenagers created a video report about their activities. The youngsters tackled themes central Amnesty Internationals work: womens rights, child soldiers, the right to education, the importance of memory and the fight against impunity, land rights, respect for minorities and indigenous people, and freedom of expression.
This chapter looks at the land problems faced by Guatemala’s indigenous people.
This film was produced by and about students and Human Rights defenders actively involved in the project ‘World Citizens for Human Rights Defenders’, developed and supervised by the Youth Programme of the Amnesty Belgian section (French speaking).
The project aims at protecting HRDs through the creation of communication networks between Belgian students and their respective NGOs. It encourages the students to develop their own projects to promote the work of their partner HRD.
The project was launched in September 2006 and distributed to institutional partners in the educational field calling for project applications to work with NGOs / HRDs across Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas.
35 student groups (around 400 individuals) sent in applications and for over a year they regularly communicated with their partner NGO /HRD , enquiring about objectives, activities, members, motivations, successes and difficulties. They developed creative projects to support and promote their partners in their local environment. Some wrote plays, created websites, directed short films, composed music, etc.
The five groups that ran the most successful projects over the year were selected to visit their partner HRD in the home country and make a documentary film on their activities.
The resulting documentaries were broadcast on Belgian TV during the anniversary celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 10th anniversary of the UN Declaration for Human Rights Defenders.
The five films are now available on DVD and for download to support and publicise the work of Human Rights Defenders and as a resource for Human Rights Education.
Citoyens du Monde: Argentina
Citoyens du Monde: Burkina Faso
Citoyens du Monde: DRC Child Soldiers
Citoyens du Monde: DRC Sexual violence and womens rights
Citoyens du Monde: Guatemala