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The film "A Path to Dignity: The Power of Human Rights Education," which uses case studies from India, Australia and Turkey to illustrate how human rights education can transform the lives of individuals and communities, was launched at the UN Office at Geneva on September 19, 2012.
Soka Gakkai International (SGI), Human Rights Education Associates (HREA) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) have jointly produced this 28-minute film to raise awareness about the importance of human rights education.
Held as a side event of the 21st session of the UN Human Rights Council, the launch was attended by more than 70 people and chaired by Frank Elbers, Executive Director of HREA. Speakers included filmmaker Ellen Bruno and Craig Mokhiber, Chief of the Development and Economic and Social Issues Branch of OHCHR, who commented: "This film helps our communities to be better places to live. Human rights education is not a soft tool, but a very strong tool. Human rights education can empower individuals. It is a path to dignity." H.E. Christian Guillermet-Fernández, Ambassador of Costa Rica to the UN Office at Geneva, also spoke, stating that although the path to dignity and the realization of human rights is long, this DVD will give many people hope along the way.
Suzanne Pritchard of SGI-Europe applauded this collaborative effort, and introduced excerpts from SGI President Daisaku Ikeda's message on the occasion of the launch: "We believe that the true value of human rights education lies in its empowerment of the individual through transformation from within and the corresponding awakening of a sense of responsibility to spread the ripples of change far and wide. The purpose of human rights education is truly fulfilled when those who suffered from injustice are able to become sources of hope for those who are suffering around them."
The film presents three inspiring stories illustrating the impact of human rights education among schoolchildren affected by discrimination in a rural village in India, on police officers and their attitude to offenders in Australia, and on women victims of domestic violence in Turkey. As Evrim Gul from Turkey comments in the film following her own exposure to human rights education, "Women everywhere, anywhere in the world, would change with this training." related article Soka Gakkai Holds Lecture on Minamata Disease and Building a Sustainable Society On July 26, Soka Gakkai members in Minamata City, Kyushu, invited Masazumi Yoshii, a former mayor of the city, to lecture on the impact of Minamata disease, mercury poisoning caused by industrial pollution that first broke out in the 1950s, and his efforts to rebuild and revitalize the city and its residents in the decades that followed.
Ms. Anna Rottenecker, representative of the Association for the Prevention of Torture, commented at the launch: "I was impressed by the wide selection of case stories chosen: child, police and women. I appreciate this film because of the very easy and understandable way that it portrays the power of human rights education through these stories. I believe it is a very usable tool for both professionals and non-professionals."
The film also introduces key United Nations instruments and frameworks such as the World Programme for Human Rights Education (2005-ongoing) in advancing implementation of human rights education. "A Path to Dignity" includes statements by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the President of Costa Rica, a country which has played a key role in promoting human rights education in the United Nations context.
"A Path to Dignity" is available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Japanese, Russian and Spanish. For further information, see: http://www.path-to-dignity.org
[Adapted from a report from the Soka Gakkai International Office of Public Information, (SGI-OPI); photos courtesy of SGI-OPI]
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Soka Gakkai in America: Focused on Servant Leadership and Dialogic Teaching
by William Aiken, director of public affairs, SGI-USA
Toward a World Free from Misery
by Olivier Urbain, director, Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research
Seeds of Hope: The Power of One
by Barbara Jenkins, SGI-USA
Tokyo Fuji Art Museum:
Creating Peace through Culture
by Akira Gokita, Japan
Strengthening the Voice of Women at the UN
by Ivy Gabbert, SGI Office for UN Affairs, New York