Ambassador of Switzerland to Bangladesh Rene Holenstein on Sunday said that freedom of expression and press freedom are important benchmarks for human rights in any society.
He was speaking at a discussion meeting held at Chattogram Zila Shilpakala Academy.
The ambassador also emphasized the role of civil society, human rights activists and journalists in promoting human rights.
Embassy of Switzerland in Bangladesh, the Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Steps towards Development, International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights Zeneva and Chittagong Social Development Forum-CSDF jointly organized the programme to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Senior human rights adviser to the UN resident coordinator Heike Alefsen, chief executive of Nagorik Uddyog Zakir Hossain, rights activist Jasmeen Sultana Paru and Ismail Mintu, Government City College Professor Alex Alim, Bangladesh Mahila Samity High School and College principal Anwara Begum, advocate Rehana Begum Ranu, councilors Abida Azad, CSDF chairperson SM Nazer Hossain and vice chairperson Kazi Iqbal Bahar Saberi also spoke at the programme.
Steps Towards Development’s executive director Ranjan Karmaker was the moderator at the discussion.
The award winning Swiss film ‘Sonita’ featuring women’s rights issues was screened at the event. The film depicts the struggles of Sonita, an Afghan refugee who pursues her aspirations, overcoming various obstacles including an attempt by her relatives to make her enter into an early marriage against her wish.
The event was organised as part of an international human rights film tour in over 45 countries organized by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and UN country teams, the International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights in Geneva.
Since May 2018, the film tour has successfully travelled to six major cities in Bangladesh, including Dhaka, Rangpur, Khulna, Rajshahi, Barisal and now Chattogram, providing people a platform to talk about their rights. More events around the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are being planned.
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