Resident Coordinator, United Nations Pakistan and Acting Director, UNIC
This issue has a range of messages on the importance of human rights from the UN system, government and member states. It will also highlight activities undertaken to observe the occasion, such as the third edition of the ‘Human Rights through Cinematography’ Film Festival jointly organized by the Pakistan National Council of the Arts, the Embassies and High Commissions of Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Australia, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland, the European Union, Goethe Institute, and the United Nations. This year, the festival, brought some 25 films and documentaries from all over the world focusing on topics including migration, refugees, freedom of expression, child abuse, human trafﬁcking, drug abuse, people living with disabilities, rights of transgender people, violence against women, peace building, and the death penalty, among many others. It showed both the challenges all countries face, and the accomplishments.
Three short documentaries jointly produced by young Pakistani and Afghan filmmakers during a training session in July were also screened: Bahaali, Sound of Silence and Transgenders in Pakistan, focused on drug abuse in children, persons with disabilities and transgenders’ rights. The powerful medium of film, and the collaboration among filmmakers of different countries brings people closer and allows an understanding of the common human rights issues around the world.
December 1 was World AIDS Day, so this issue focuses on UN activities aimed at increasing awareness, fighting stigma and discrimination, and educating people regarding HIV. With an estimated 133,179 People Living with HIV (PLHIV) Pakistan harbors more than one third of the estimated HIV Positive population in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region, but is on board the fast-track programme to eradicate the disease by 2030. The theme of this year’s day was ‘Right to Health’: only by placing human rights at the centre of global health can we ensure that health care is accessible, acceptable, available and of good quality for everyone, leaving no one behind.
In this issue, we also share information on several development activities undertaken by different UN agencies in the areas of climate change, refugees, drug and crime prevention, gender equality, and education. In addition, a number of important UN observances were commemorated in the past months, including World Prematurity Day, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, International Day of Persons with Disabilities, International Migrants Day, and the International Day for Tolerance. This edition includes stories about our activities to promote these days, and our efforts to achieve the SDGs behind them.
I would like to express my gratitude to the members of the UN Communications Group and the UN Country Team for their continued support for this magazine, and for their collective work on communication to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in Pakistan.