On August 24th, Peace Brigades International organized a film screening and discussion event about El Salvador with our Shelter City Guest María Luz Nóchez. After the screening of the documentaries, María Luz, along with Julienne Weegels took part in a discussion with moderators and PBI project officers Noémie and Nick.
Nick Anagnostellis opened the evening with an introduction of PBI and the work that we do, once again highlighting the importance of protecting Human Rights Defenders. Through organizing this evening we asked for awareness of the current situation in El Salvador with regards to Human Rights and were grateful to provide a safe space where María Luz could express herself.
The documentary that we screened, Fly So Far, directed by Celina Escher, follows the story of Teodora Vasque. The spokesperson for the 17, a group of women who were unjustly imprisoned after experiencing obstetric emergencies. It is a story of struggle, resilience, solidarity and sorority.
Noémie Abtan continued with the introduction of Shelter City Utrecht. An initiative implemented by Justice and Peace in 13 different cities in the Netherlands. A place where Human Rights Defenders can receive tailor-made support and engage with stakeholders, allies, and students to raise awareness and find support.
After the introduction of Shelter City Utrecht by Noémie, it was time for the last video. A mini-documentary about María and her stay in the Netherlands was made by Marcel Bettonville. In the short documentary, María talks about her experiences in El Salvador and her participation in the Shelter City Program, as well as how she is finding living in Utrecht. After the film screening the mini-documentary was published on YouTube.
Having watched all of the documentaries, the audience was then treated to a discussion moderated by Noémie and Nick. María was joined by Dr. Julienne Weegels, assistant professor of Latin American studies at CEDLA. Both participants engaged in a lively and informative conversation.
After the discussion, the floor was opened to questions from the audience, with a nicely cushioned microphone being passed around to guests. Many questions, were asked, which María and Dr. Weegels were happy to answer. The goal of her stay was also to raise awareness about the current situation in El Salvador and gain valuable support.
A special thanks goes out to Marcel Bettonville, the maker of the short documentary about María, and all of our wonderful PBI volunteers who put so much of their energy into making this evening a success! Last, but certainly not least, thank you to our partners Justice & Peace Nederland, the Shelter City project, Human Rights Utrecht, The Netherlands Institute for Human Rights (SIM) and Bibliotheek Utrecht.
This event of PBI was made possible by LUSH