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British High Commissioner opens Ditshwanelo Human Rights Film Festival

The British High Commissioner to Botswana Nick Pyle opened the 13th annual Human Rights Film Festival in Gaborone.

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The British High Commissioner to Botswana Nick Pyle opening the 13th annual Human Rights Film Festival, commended the role of Ditshwanelo, Bonela, Legabibo and Rainbow Identity in helping to drive and keep alive the issue of Human Rights in Botswana.

The High Commissioner told the audience that despite Botswana’s remarkable economic, political and social development since 1966, more can be done with regards to the promotion of human rights in the country and that development should be continuous. Welcoming Botswana’s recent engagement with the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review, he called on the Government of Botswana to adopt and implement as soon as possible a national human rights strategy so that human rights features in its own right in the National Development planning process.

He said, “It is also important that the Government continues to engage with NGOs and civil society to build consensus on human rights issues. The British Government is prepared to support such efforts where we can and where we are able.”

The film festival, which runs until the 27th March, opened with the film Pierrepoint, which addressed the death penalty theme and was followed by a post discussion screening led by Attorney Thobo Kerekang. The film is about Albert Pierrepoint, a long serving hangman in England. He executed 608 people, including war criminals, between 1933 and 1955. Following his retirement in 1956, the British government acknowledged Pierrepoint as the most efficient executioner in British history. He subsequently wrote his memoirs, in which he concluded that capital punishment was not a deterrent to crime.

Many other films will be shown during the Festival representing an array of themes including: the death penalty, youth activism and social justice, social justice through music, freedom from bullying, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgendered and inter-sex rights, freedoms of association and expression, Zimbabwe and Palestine. The Festival has received financial support from the British High Commission.

Published 26 March 2013