The city of le Havre hosted the International Human Rights Film Festival for the first time in Normandy, from February 6th to 13th 2017.
Members of Young Caritas of Le Havre took part as jury members at the end of 2016 in the Paris edition, and we were committed to bringing this fascinating concept to Normandy. The main purpose of this festival was to discuss some of the very important human rights issues of our city and our region and to get our local inhabitants involved in these sensitive debates.
We were pleased that despite the importance of the event the 5 Young Caritas volunteers from the Haute Normandie delegation of Secours Catholique who decided to bring it to its territory (Saint Valery en Caux and Le Havre), successfully participated in every stage of the event.
The program was intended for a first short year (4 feature films and 3 short films), that dealt with topics like corruption, democracy, immigration, and even issues like slavery, and the sexual exploitation of children.
The objective was to make the public aware of contemporary issues outside those covered in the media. It was therefore crucial to provide films accompanied by the key concepts to make things clear for everyone.
Each film ended with a debate around the theme that it tackled, the audience discussed the films and provided different angles to the conversation.
The organization of the event was made easier through the help offered by local charity workers and speakers from non-governmental organizations, among them Amnesty International, the League of Human Rights, the Mission of the Sea, Terra Psy and the Cimade .
Furthermore, we went to local secondary schools in the region in order talk about our cause with the younger generation. Several films were shown and each time there was an excellent participation of young adults which helped us spread the word and develop democratic debates.
The sponsor of the event, Ariane Doublet (a Norman film director) said: “For the audience it was an opportunity to discover stories of men and women who defend their rights and also an opportunity to see that our commitment is growing.
The opening ceremony took place in the student house of Le Havre University, with the participation of a large number of volunteers from Young Caritas. They prepared a buffet based on the “flavors of the world”. Each volunteer participated with great energy and spirit and was key in making the event such a success. This festival reminded us of the effectiveness of our young student volunteers.
The first edition held in our region was especially pleasing because the film discussions were so well received. The overwhelmingly positive response has already got us thinking about the next edition.
Gilles Boulé, Young Caritas Volunteer, Le Havre