University students across Dubai and Sharjah are being urged to tap into their creative side in a bid to tackle human rights issues. On Monday, the Community Development Authority's (CDA) Human Rights Sector launched a short film competition inviting higher education students to create a thought-provoking awareness video based on child rights.
With a focus on four main areas within Child Rights, three winners will be selected from each category and the videos could later be used alongside the sector's community awareness campaigns.
Speaking from the CDA's office in Dubai on Monday, CEO of Human Rights Sector Maitha Al Shamsi told Khaleej Times this particular initiative was put forward to encourage community members to help tackle problems within the human rights sector here.
"The department conducts research into areas that require more awareness and greater campaigns and programmes. One of these areas in the U.A.E. is child rights ... (and that is) ... why this competition has been created. But another big area that needs focus is the rights of disabled people,” she said. And with the issuing of the Dubai Law and the ‘My Community' initiatives which champion the country's disabled community, Al Shamsi said disability awareness will be the next big focus for future campaigns.
Newspaper reports often highlight how parents fail to safely seat children in moving vehicles. Instances of abandoned newborn babies are also on the rise.
The most highly publicised child abuse case was that of Wadeema, a young girl tortured and killed by her father and his girlfriend before being buried in the desert. The news caused public outcry in the U.A.E. and when asked whether this renewed focus on child rights has come in light of this tragic case, CDA Director-General Khaled Al Kamda said no. "Child rights has always been a key objective of the CDA and this new focus has not come purely as a result of that isolated incident. That particular case did however push the issue to the fore.”
Short film competition
The short film competition will require students across both emirates to produce a 3-5 minute long video using both visual and sound effects.
With no restrictions in regards to content, Al Shamsi told Khaleej Times that students can shoot real-life cases from real life people, or simply shoot fictional scenes or informational slides. "Students will be free to do whatever they want which means the possibilities are endless. We are expecting some very powerful messages from these videos.”
Launched in a bid to foster a society which knows its human rights, Al Shamsi said the creative initiative will allow students to increase their knowledge of human rights issues while at the same time allowing the sector to feed off the students' own knowledge.
Cash prizes of Dh25,000, Dh20,000 and Dh15,000 will be rewarded to first, second and third place winners, respectively.
Any student across the two emirates can enter the competition, either as individuals or in groups, but only one entry per person can be submitted. A roadshow will be launched later this week where officials from the Human Rights Sector will visit universities across Dubai and Sharjah, including the American University of Dubai and twofour54 Media Training institution, to explain the details of the competition.
Source: Khaleej Times