"Talking Humanity" is the new conversation series of the Human Rights Film Festival Berlin. Together with our partners, we invite internationally renowned personalities to discuss current issues. With its minimalist format, the series deliberately offers a counterpoint to the flood of news and invites the audience to take an in-depth look at selected issues alongside the experts. Together we want to examine the topics from different perspectives, discuss them in a controversial way and, above all, contribute to an open dialogue.
Now you can watch the talks online here (link and video to expand under the title)
We will plunge into the rough and often perilous world of war and crisis journalism, coming to understand the irreplaceable role played by on-site reporting in revealing the harsh realities of conflict and crisis zones to the world. Our esteemed panel of experienced journalists and experts will explore the importance of journalism as a form of bearing witness – as well as the importance of the work done by local journalists to bring these stories to international audiences. This panel will also touch on the documentary ‘20 Days in Mariupol,’ in which a team of Ukrainian AP journalists documents the atrocities of the Russian invasion in the city of Mariupol.
The panellists will share their first-hand experiences and insights into how journalism draws attention to the ordeals of people living through crises, offering real-time accounts of events that are often overlooked or misunderstood by international audiences. From the moral dilemma of frontline reporting to the challenges of conveying truth amidst chaos, this episode promises to go on a deep dive into the complex dynamics of war and crisis journalism. Who gets to tell the story? How is the story told? How does the reality of lived experience contrast with the narratives published by media organisations covering conflicts and crises?
Dominic Ongwen was nine years old when the Lord's Resistance Army abducted him from his parents' home in Gulu, Uganda. He was tortured, brainwashed and forced to kill. About thirty years later, Ongwen is being prosecuted by the International Criminal Court, accused of genocide and crimes against humanity. The documentary ‘Theatre of Violence’ tells his story. Unpacking the world's first legal investigation into the culpability of former child soldiers, we are confronted with a complex ethical question: When does a victim become a perpetrator? With expert insights and thought-provoking debates, we will explore the philosophical dimensions and moral ambiguities of this question – not only in this case but in general. We aim to shed light on the interplay between social norms, justice systems and individual experiences of coerced violence. This dialogue should be viewed as both an intellectual inquiry and an invitation for us all to ponder the complexities inherent to human conflict and the quest for justice.
Media partner: ARTE
Funded by: Freundinnen und Freunde der Heinrich Böll Stiftung
Despite the advances that have been made internationally, we still live in a world where gender violence is often downplayed or overlooked, raising profound moral, philosophical and political questions. Leveraging insights from a panel of journalists and other experts, this discussion will uncover the complexities and biases inherent to the media coverage of these crimes, including the disturbing trend towards the reversal of perpetrator-victim narratives. In line with our commitment to ‘talking humanity,’ we aim to shed light on the lived experiences of those affected by such violence, thereby challenging the status quo. Our talk will underscore how urgently we need to confront the societal norms and legal shortcomings that allow such violence to endure. We will delve into how collective action could end femicide and gender violence, foster a culture of zero tolerance and transform our societies for the better. This dialogue will call on each of us to critically engage with these uncomfortable truths and be the catalysts for a shift towards a world that is safer and more equitable for women. This panel will be followed by the documentary ‘My Name is Happy,’ which tells the inspiring story of Kurdish teenager Mutlu Kaya, who loses her sister and almost her own life by femicide – and yet does not let her voice be taken away.
Media partner: Lila Podcast
Peace for humankind is a multifaceted concept. Climate justice, gender equity and migration are integral to understanding and achieving long-lasting peace. Our panel of experts will shed light on issues like these, grappling with the critical question: What is the price of peace? Weaving together first-hand experiences and insightful analyses, this discussion will also touch on the costs and sacrifices that are often overlooked in our pursuit of harmony. Through a holistic lens, we will scrutinise not just the tangible but also the emotional and societal costs of securing peace. This dialogue aims to redefine the concept of peace, viewing it more than merely the absence of conflict and demonstrating both its complexity and how important multiple dimensions of justice are in fostering a peaceful world. This panel will be followed by the documentary ‘This Kind of Hope’ about diplomat Andrei Sannikov, who has dedicated his life to restoring democracy in Belarus.
In the chaos of war, education becomes a lifeline, often disproportionately denied to girls. Our panel will feature experienced journalists and humanitarian experts, who will provide a multifaceted perspective on the intersection of war, gender inequality and educational challenges. We will delve into the moral, political and logistical obstacles to providing education in conflict scenarios, spotlighting ongoing efforts to maintain girls’ access to learning. In this talk, we will be inviting our international audience to engage with the complex reality of these issues. It will be a call to take action to safeguard the universal right to education, particularly for girls living in the shadow of conflict.
Partner: Global Partnership for Education (GPE)
Hunger is one of war’s deadliest weapons: it causes untold suffering and destroys the lives of millions. Armed conflicts force people to flee, destroy crops and lead to famine. In crisis regions, starvation is systematically used as a weapon of war. Eighty-five percent of people suffering from acute hunger live in conflict regions! International law provides a clear framework for how the parties to a conflict must behave in order to protect civilians. With UN Resolution 2417, the international community has recognised its responsibility to protect civilians from hunger in conflicts. These commitments must be upheld. In this panel, we want to talk to experts about the connections between war, conflict and hunger – and about the measures that can be taken to reduce conflict-related hunger.
Partner: Aktion gegen den Hunger
The world witnesses the enduring impact of Western dominance, often at the expense of indigenous cultures, knowledge, and territories. As the globe grapples with the climate crisis, this panel examines the intersections of Western progression, indigenous knowledge, and artistic representation in a (post-)colonial lens. What can the West, with its history of colonization and ongoing (neo-)colonial tendencies, learn from indigenous practices that have sustained environments for millennia? And how can art and film serve not just as translators, but as catalysts for recognizing past wrongs and mobilizing a collective, reparative action?