Australian Embassy
The Philippines

SP120711: Active Vista Human Rights Film Festival 2012 Remarks by Ambassador Bill Tweddell

Active Vista Human Rights Film Festival 2012
Remarks by Ambassador Bill Tweddell
11 July 2012

  • Chair Etta Rosales, Commission on Human Rights
  • My valued colleagues, Their Excellencies Ambassador Knut Solem, the Royal Norwegian Embassy and
  • Ambassador Robert Brinks, the Royal Netherlands Embassy
  • Mr Noel Cabangon, representing Dakila -Philippine Collective for Modern Heroism

To our guest speakers, human rights experts, friends from the media, diplomatic colleagues, ladies and gentlemen – magandang gabi sa inyong lahat, good evening, and welcome to this wonderful festival of film focussed on human rights.

We are proud to have partnered with the Norwegian Embassy and ‘Movies that Matter’ to fund DAKILA in implementing this third year of the ‘Active Vista Film Festival’. We’re equally pleased to also join with the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines in their advocacy of rights for all.

I would like to personally thank Chair Etta Rosales and the staff at the CHR for their enthusiastic support of this joint initiative, and their continued hard work on critical human rights issues in the Philippines.

Active Vista Film Festival
Australia has been an enthusiastic supporter of this initiative from DAKILA for the last two years. The DAKILA Collective have done a great job in continuing to challenge young Filipinos – challenging them to learn and understand the importance of human rights in the modern age, and challenging them to take action in promotion and protection of those rights.

The focus on film, as one of the most innovative and adaptable art forms, is a wonderful way to engage and entertain the public. As DAKILA themselves demonstrate, moving people to action in this modern, connected world requires a mastery of the human rights issues, an understanding of the cultural context in which discussion and debate occurs, and an ability to be truly creative and innovative in challenging critical thinking and dialogue on those issues.

One of the best things about ‘Active Vista’ is that it is more than just a film festival, it’s an embrace of ‘activism’, and a step beyond interesting films to a direct challenge to young Filipinos to make their own films to reflect their perspectives on human rights, to find their own voice on human rights. We hope many people here tonight take up that challenge.

Australia and the Philippines: Partners in protecting and promoting human rights
One of the main reasons we decided to continue our support for this festival is that Australians are deeply concerned by human rights abuses wherever they occur, and we are committed to do what we can, where we can, to offer practical assistance and technical expertise when requested. Australians strongly believe in the concept of a ‘fair go’ for everyone, regardless of background or circumstance.

As part of that commitment Australia is a long-term development partner in the Philippines. We are working closely with civil society (such as DAKILA) and government agencies, including the CHR, to improve human rights for all.

Australia is also proud to be the largest donor to the competitive human rights grants scheme, KaSaMa (Karapatan Sa Malikhaing Paraan, funding seven projects this year. Projects funded through KaSaMa are selected on the basis that they provide innovative responses to entrenched human rights challenges, with selection criteria for creativity, impact and cost effectiveness. DAKILA and the others present here tonight are a reflection of the talent that exists for just these challenges.

These people are at the forefront of practical efforts to promote and protect the rights of all Filipinos and for that we salute them.

This film festival is intended to provoke thought, discussion and dialogue. It is specifically designed to reach out beyond the regular participants in human rights forums, and for that reason the Festival will cover the length and breadth of the Philippines. It is designed to connect and motivate a new generation of Filipinos interested in human rights, and to be a catalyst for new means of communicating the importance of human rights to all.

Finally, on behalf of the Australian Embassy and our partners for this forum, I thank you for your attendance here tonight, and I congratulate all who are involved in putting ‘Active Vista’ together.

Please enjoy this film, even though it’s not a film, and please spread the word about participation in Active Vista Film Festival over the coming months. Maraming salamat.