Opening of the 17th FIFDH

The FIFDH 2019 opened on Friday 8 March, in the presence of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.

At a time when human rights are suffering an unprecedented setback and multilateral institutions are under attack on a daily basis, the FIFDH is highlighting citizen engagement and resistance during 200 events in 62 locations in Greater Geneva and French-speaking Switzerland.
In parallel with the main session of the UN Human Rights Council, 300 speakers from all over the world gather in Geneva to testify, denounce and exchange with the public.

Women changing the world

A highlight of this 17th edition of the Festival, half of the 47 films presented are directed by women. More importantly, the women who are the protagonists of these films are helping to change the world.

"For the first time, the majority of protagonists in our selection are women. They are strong women, women who, despite an unsustainable context, rise up, become actors in their lives, and often act alone to make a difference."

- Isabelle Gattiker, Director of the FIFDH

Openend on Friday 8 March, International Women's Rights Day, the Festival dedicated its opening evening to women human rights defenders. After the screening of Alexandria Bombach's film On Her Shoulders, dedicated to the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad, the Festival will welcome activists Sareta Ashraph, Tetiana Pechonchyk and Hajer Sharief.

Among the 300 guests of the Festival, the public will also have the opportunity to listen and exchange with author Leïla Slimani, President of the Documentary Jury, the activist and former President of CNN Productions Pat Mitchell, President of the Fiction Jury, actress Aïssa Maïga, feminist professor and activist Ratna Kapur, journalists Nadia Daam, Lyse Doucet (BBC) and Lénaïg Bredoux, sociologist Saskia Sassen, scientist and founder of the website Sci-Hub Alexandra Elbakyan, international President of Doctors Without Borders Joanne Liu, Brazilian activist Ludmilla Teixeira, Syrian activist Sara Mardini and former Swiss President Ruth Dreifuss.

Other FIFDH guests include actor Forest Whitaker, web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, authors Roberto Saviano (who will speak by videoconference) and Uzodinma Iweala, as well as artist Ai Weiwei and World Health Organization (WHO) Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The writer Edouard Louis will close this edition on Sunday 17 March.