Bir Duino Film Festival Video Greeting

Дек 05.2021

November 2021

Greetings, I am Mahnaz Afkhami, President of Women’s Learning Partnership (WLP). I join Tolekan Ismailova, Director of Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan, in welcoming you to the 15th annual International Festival of Documentary Films on Human Rights.

This Festival demonstrates the universality of our experiences and struggles as portrayed through the stories on screen, despite the fact that we come from different countries and backgrounds. This year, 26 films will be featured from 19 countries around the world on diverse themes, including immigration, access to justice, environmental degradation, and human rights for women and girls. Thousands of people have traveled to Bishkek to take part in this festival and to participate in the important discussions that will address some of the most pressing issues of our world.

In 2021, the world is facing many challenges that threaten human rights and human security. Unequal vaccine distribution, the failure of world leaders to take decisive action on climate change, and the Taliban’s resurgence in Afghanistan have all demonstrated the crucial need for activists to stand united in the defense of human rights. In these challenging times, film can serve as a powerful medium to convey our messages, share our stories, and engage people with our causes. The documentaries you will watch during this festival underscore the interconnectedness of our struggles and the strength of our collective actions.

As with the film festival, our partners at the Women’s Learning Partnership come from diverse backgrounds but work for a common vision. Bir Duino’s vision epitomizes WLP’s mission to transform power relations and promote justice, equality, peace, and sustainable development.

As you participate in the festival’s activities, you will have the opportunity to reflect on the power of art to educate, motivate, and inspire and the chance to celebrate the artists who have labored to create these films. The experience will bring us solidarity as we work together to achieve our common goal of human rights for all.

I wish Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan and all of you the best of success.


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Feedback from our focus groups



Experience should be attached to a law degree

Shakhboz Latipov, 24 y.o., young lawyer: “When I came to BDK for an internship, I had no experience in legal and human rights activities. Together with experienced senior colleagues, I began to attend trials, studied documents. Gradually my supervisor Khusanbai Saliev began to trust me the preparation of documents, carefully checked them and gave practical advice. Experience comes with time and cases you work on. Every day dozens of people who need help come to us, many of them are from socially vulnerable groups: the poor, large families, elderly citizens. A lawyer in a human rights organization sometimes acts as a psychologist, it is important for him to be able to maintain professionalism and show empathy. At the end of 2019, I successfully passed the exam to get the right to start working as attorney and now I work on cases as an attorney. I turn to my colleagues for help on complex issues, they always give me their advice. This is one of the strengths of the organization: there is support and understanding here.”



Organization unites regions

Feruza Amadalieva, social worker, leader, teacher: “TOT from BDK is a great opportunity to get acquainted with participants from different regions, we continue to communicate on social media and when we meet at events, as close friends, we have such warm relations! At the events, I improved my knowledge, systematized it, clarified how to apply it in practice. I really like the training modules and the way the system of training and practice is built: role-playing games, theory, discussions. Each person expresses himself/herself. I have become a leader for other vulnerable women, I try to help them and engage them in such events.” Feruza Amadalieva is a regular participant of many BDK events, she invites the BDK lawyers to provide legal advice to vulnerable women.



I became confident

In summer of 2019, Nuriza Talantbek kyzy took an active part in conducting regional screenings of documentaries, helped with organizational issues during the campaign dedicated to the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, participated in trips, and did the TOT on women's leadership. She used to be a migrant, worked for an NGO in Osh, and now works in Bishkek in the service industry. She calls her participation in the TOT “an invaluable experience”: “I first attended such an event, and received exactly the information that I needed, for which I am sincerely grateful to the facilitators. I experienced very difficult issues in my life, and thanks to that knowledge, I was able to overcome them, I persevered! After the TOT, I became more confident, began to better understand the essence of human rights, and learned to defend my interests.”



The defendant has passed away. The work on his rehabilitation continues.

The case of Shukurullo Kochkarov shows that work on complex cases continues for many years. After the torture he was subjected to in 2010, he became disabled. We managed to get acquittal on one of the charges; the work is ongoing on achieving his rehabilitation and recognition as a victim of torture in order for compensation to be paid. Trials continue without Shukurullo Kochkarov - he died on 2 August 2019. His interests are represented by his father, Saidaziz Kochkarov, who also has a visual disability. “For many years, we have been supported by the employees of BDK, they have been handling the case of my son, they brought him to court because he couldn’t walk on his own, they constantly help our family: my wife and I underwent rehabilitation, they have helped my son by providing him with medicines, they provide all kinds of help”.



Comprehensive support for victims of torture

Resident of the Kara-Suu district, Dilyor Jumabaev, has extensive experience in dealing with law enforcement agencies. In 2010, he was accused of possessing firearms, and thanks to the work of lawyers, he was acquitted. Two years later, his house was first searched in order to find materials of an extremist nature, but nothing was found. In 2014, he was accused of possessing extremist materials. In court, the prosecutor requested 15 years in prison; the court sentenced him to 6 years. A few years later he was released on parole. “I am grateful to the lawyers of BDK for their expert legal assistance. I participated in a rehabilitation program for victims of torture. When I encounter violations, I recommend contacting this organization.”


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