Stories From the film
These ten stories are truly personal experiences of human rights violations.
Citizen is honoured to be able to give these stories a platform and to elevate these voices so that we, as a community, can learn from these stories.
The Atrocities of War
‘Human rights is a right that you have irrespective of your culture, gender, your beliefs and you need it’
The war in Sierra Leone began in 1991 and raged for over ten years. Though Sheku was fortunate enough not to have become a child soldier in the war, his story demonstrates that the horrors of war extend beyond the fighting forces.
The Armenian Genocide
‘If you don’t remember and acknowledge then you keep repeating the same thing, which is happening all over the world’
The Armenian Genocide, in many ways, laid the blueprint of atrocities that would develop in WWII. The repetition of horrendous violations of human rights begins by labeling a group of people as ‘other’. This is a pattern that we all need to recognise and learn from.
The Quiet Battles
‘I don’t think you have to be disabled or from another country to have a human rights issue, anybody could have a human right issue. The Human Rights Act would make everybody feel included and a part of the community and know that there is something that they can use if they need to because it could happen to anybody.’
Human rights violations and the struggle for acceptance, equality and inclusion are not always battles that are fought in wars. The quiet battles, the ones that happen every day, hold just as much importance.
The Survival of Culture
‘Come to Australia, everyone gets for fair go, but that does not include indigenous people.’
Aboriginal people are still suffering from the impacts of colonisation – trauma does not stop in one generation. The history of Australia is far longer than white settlement but as a result of that colonisation, the culture of First Nations people have overwhelmingly been lost.
The Stories of the Stateless
‘When I first arrived in Launceston in December 2010 I feel like this is my country, I am proud to say I’m Australian.’
As a stateless person, you are recognised by no nation and so you do not truly belong anywhere in the world. With no place to call home, you cannot build a future. Ten million people are trapped in this position as they wait for the opportunity to be granted official refugee status.
Juma Piri Piri
The Fight for Democracy
‘I don’t think being quite is a good thing, people are dying if we don’t speak who is going to speak?’
South Sudan has been embroiled in civil war since 2013. By speaking out and acting as an advocate and activist for his fellow South Sudanese, Juma has become a pariah in the eyes of the South Sudanese government and is unable to return to his home country.
The Rights of Children
‘I think a lot of people are too scared to come forward.’
Children are most at risk of abuse in society and the challenges faced in protecting children and enabling children to seek protection in complicated family dynamics are enormous. One of the most daunting things for survivors of abuse is the doubt and disbelief that they are faced with when they come forward.
The Global Migration Crisis
‘Stateless people are like ghost we know that they are there, but we are not recognising them.’
Today 10 million people around the world are denied a nationality. Madeleine’s outlook on the issue of refugees is pragmatic. Supporting stateless people is a task that citizens can engage with at every level within their own nation.
The Global Family
‘I am a member of humanity, one world, one family – we are all one people.’
Viewing human rights as completely inclusive and something that extends across the world enables us to see the bigger picture. Where there are human rights violations, we have a responsibility to help how we can, even if it is not in our back yard.
The Triumph of Compassion
‘Make compassion the default in our society.’
The benefits of an inclusive society far outweighs one of fear and exclusion. In Australia ‘we’ve boundless plains to share‘, so why not share them?