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BORDER POLITICS | Screening as part of the Human Rights Arts & Film Festival 

The Human Rights Arts & Film Festival (HRAFF) has launched its’ 2018 program of over 50 films and events. The festival starts in Melbourne on Thursday May 3 through to May 17. This will be followed by a tour to Canberra from May 29 through to 2 June and co-programing with Breath of Fresh Air Festival on 19 and 20 May in Launceston, Tasmania.


The Human Rights Arts and Film Festival aims to make human rights relevant, accessible and engaging to Australians through film, art, music and forums. HRAFF attracts a diverse audience of 15,000 – 20,000 people, many who would not normally engage in human rights.


The festival has become one of the leading and largest public human rights events, telling meaningful stories that help create a different world. In the past twelve months, it has been recognised by the Graham F. Smith Peace Foundation and the Future Leaders Justice Prize.


The 2018 festival aims to create awareness and highlight pressing human rights issues including across four major themes: global people movement, gender equality, Indigenous rights and the environment.

Opening night in Melbourne is headlined by Australian film After the Apology, directed by Larissa Behrendt. Behrendt is an Indigenous (Eualeyai/Gammilaroi) filmmaker, novelist, lawyer and academic. Her landmark documentary After the Apology explores the practise of Aboriginal child removal. 


Aboriginal children are being removed at greater rates, almost doubling since the time of Rudd’s Apology speech. After the Apology also reveals Indigenous children are ten times more likely to be placed in out of home care than non-Indigenous children.


“Film provides a mechanism for telling real stories that highlight the need for change,” says Behrendt. “More than statistics, research and legal arguments, personal stories show the real reasons for the need to protect human rights”.

HRAFF will also screen the ground-breaking documentary Border Politics, directed by Judy Rymer. The feature-length documentary follows human rights barrister, Julian Burnside, as he travels the globe examining the increasing compromises to human rights in Western democracies occurring via the exploitation of fears around border protection.  


In 2016, the UNHCR identified 22.5 million asylum seekers in the world. Just 19% were resettled around the globe.

Border Politics follows human rights barrister Julian Burnside as he traverses the globe examining the harsh treatment of refugees metered out by most Western democracies.


Seventy years after the world constructed international conventions to ensure the horrors of World War II wouldn’t be repeated, Burnside finds it terrifying to see both Australian and other western political leaders exploiting fears around border protection to extend political power. He questions whether the West has lost its moral compass, adopting ideas that reject humanity and undermine democracy. He concludes, this erosion of human rights poses a threat to the very democratic values that define Western society.

“If we continue to abuse human rights in Australia the way we’ve been doing for the last 15 years we run the risk of completely devaluing the human rights fabric in Australia” Burnside has said.

Julian Burnside

Julian Burnside is an esteemed Australian barrister who practises principally in commercial litigation, trade practices and administrative law. He is also a prominent human rights and refugee advocate, and author.


For up to date screenings information, please go to FB page | @BORDERPOLITICSfilm

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