Women on the Frontline’s activists tell their stories on the big screen

October 25, 2016

In partnership with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Women on the Frontline programme is honoured to have organised the ‘Women on the Frontline: THEIR STORIES’ film screening, the second in a series of screenings around the world. Three films depicting the experiences of three activists from Syria, Iraq, and Yemen were screened at the Dutch embassy in Washington DC on 24 October, 2016. The three films highlight the struggles that women and men activists go through around the world, but particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, reminding us of how crucial it is to support them in their fight for freedom, dignity and equality, and in their efforts to address the root-causes of violence and extremism.

Bilqis Abu Osba (Yemen, second from right) is a Gender and Political Sciences Professor at the University of Sana’a and an expert in gender issues who played a key role in establishing several women’s networks to enable women leaders to fight for the right to be represented in the dialogue.

Behar Ali (Kurdistan Iraq, second from left) is a life-long human rights activist, working for a peaceful, secure, developed, and modern Kurdistan Iraq; a society that guarantees the full and equal participation of women and peaceful co-existence amongst the different minorities in the region.

Yasmine Merei (Syria, left) is a journalist and human rights defender who, despite multiple threats and difficulties, is determined to continue her fight alongside her fellow activists for a peaceful, free and democratic Syria.

The film screenings were followed by a Q&A session where all three speakers, Bilqis Abu Osba (Yemen), Yasmine Merei (Syria) and Behar Ali (Kurdistan Iraq) highlighted the vital role and crucial voices of women in bringing longed-for change and desperately needed lasting peace and security to the region. Yasmine, Behar and Bilkis are a living example that strong and unifying alternative voices are necessary for rebuilding peace in the MENA region and around the world.

The next screenings are at the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in New York City on 26 October and at the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) on 26 October, 2016.

To learn more about the screening and the films, to watch the trailer and download the flyer, please visit: http://screening.womenonthefrontline.eu/

The Women on the Frontline (WoF) programme began in 2013, following from and  building upon the great hopes and aspirations that arose from the Arab uprisings of 2011. The programme was initiated and led by Hivos, in cooperation with the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), and Oxfam Novib. The WoF program was conceived as an umbrella programme for long-term investment in building the capacities of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) that work towards women’s rights and gender equality in seven Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries: Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Syria and Iraq.

This text was edited for publication on www.hivos.org. The original Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands press release is in the documents box in the right sidebar.