Minority Rights Group International (MRG) Deputy Director, Claire Thomas, writes this opinion piece for the Thomson Reuters News Foundation.+ LEARN MORE
MRG occasionally produces or commissions films that highlight the plight and stories of minorities and indigenous peoples, their rights and struggle for justice. These films, which vary in length and style due to the variety of programmes and partners we work with, offer precious resources to raise awareness about the daily discrimination the poorest of the poor have to face.
Older feature-length films
Shorter productions, campaigns & events
Minorities and minoritized groups in Tunisia, between discrimination and recognition of diversity
On the occasion of the International Human Rights Day, Minority Rights Group International (MRG) organized a panel discussion on 13 December 2021 at the National Library of Tunis. The objective of this meeting-debate was to present and discuss the situation of minorities and other ‘minoritized’ groups in Tunisia, through both academic and cultural exchanges, in the presence of experts in the different sectors. The recording of the event is available online.
Fatoni in My Memory
The region of Thailand currently known as the deep south, encompassing the provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and four districts of Songkhla, was once an independent Muslim sultanate known as Patani or Fatoni, before it was annexed to Thailand by the British in 1909. The film ‘Fatoni in My Memory’ explores ideas of historical injustice, especially the destruction of the region’s cultural artefacts by the Thai state, and traces them to the modern day conflict that continues to wage unabated between a separatist movement and the Thai state authorities. As the government has made little progress in realising the rights of the Malay Muslim minority, particularly cultural, linguistic, religious, civil and political rights, the denial of these rights is manifested in a conflict that targets civilians. While the Thai government has for decades taken a largely assimilationist approach to the deep south, the identity of the people of Patani cannot be erased, and the people will not forget their history.
Thai citizens know little about the real experiences of people in Thailand’s Southern Border Provinces. The region has been plagued by a simmering violent conflict since at least 2004, yet mainstream media in Thailand has often presented a simplified and even biased picture of events. To address such misrepresentation of the issue, IDIO Films present Dialect So-So – a short documentary that tells the real stories of people living in Thailand’s deep south. It highlights the success of the Thai-Chinese-Buddhist minority in finding dialogue and peace with their Malay Muslim neighbours at times of continuing insurgency and conflict in the area and despite their profound cultural and religious differences. With respect for diversity, human dignity and belief, these communities embody values that allowed them to build a society that peacefully and respectfully accommodates its diverse members.
Freedom From Hate
by Manifest Media | 2020 | 5 videos | Story pack
The Power of Memes in Slovakia | Tapping into the popular cultural phenomenon of ‘memes’ in the digital world, the Human Rights Institute (HRI) has achieved remarkable results in tackling the preconceptions and stereotypes inflicted on the Roma population in Slovakia.
Challenging online hate speech in Hungary | The Hungarian Roma-led NGO Romedia is a regional media organization, running media campaigns to promote awareness and understanding of the Roma community. They have decades of experience in designing Roma-inclusive media approaches and disseminating these messages through regional networks.
Partnering with media networks in Croatia | With limited online reach the Roma National Council (RNV) had to approach this project more creatively. RNV stated in their campaign plan, ‘it is our firm conviction that the campaign in order to be effective (according to different criteria) cannot be targeted at the general public. Changes in this conviction can only come about if we get partnership and support from some larger media organizations such as television with national frequency.’
Busting myths about Roma housing in Czech Republic | Forum for Human Rights (FORUM), based in the Czech Republic, focuses on international human rights litigation and advocacy in Central Europe. Its lawyers represent several strategic cases in the Czech Republic aimed at fighting discrimination against Roma.
Using film to promote tolerance in Bulgaria | The Center for Interethnic Dialogue and Tolerance (Amalipe) is a leading Roma organization working for equal integration of Roma in Bulgarian society. Amalipe plays a central role in mobilizing the Roma civil movement and advocates for greater Roma representation within government institutions. It has 11 Community Development Centres across Bulgaria, allowing it to work at the grassroots level. Through Amalipe’s work with Roma young people in schools, the issue of school segregation came up as one of the major problems Roma children face.
Slaves and Discrimination: The emancipation of Haratine Women
2018 | 18 min | Full
Tragically, slavery is still occuring in Mauritania today. This film highlights the experience of slaves and ex-slaves (also known as Haratines) in Mauritania as well as the efforts that are being made to eradicate slavery.
Indigenous peoples’ land rights in Tanzania and Kenya
2017 | 4 min | Full
A video report of impact of strategic litigation and legal empowerment on indigenous peoples’ land rights in Tanzania and Kenya.
Our lives in transit
‘Our Lives in Transit’ is a 30-minute documentary showing life in the Dominican Republic in the aftermath of a controversial law that leaves over 200,000 people doubting their own identity.
Rosa Iris is a young and determined lawyer; we experience a year in her life as she fights for the rights of her community.
There is a huge threat over her and others in her position. She is no longer allowed to call the country she was born in, home. ID documents are being confiscated, buses are picking up anyone without proof of who they are and deportations have started.
Despite living in the Dominican Republic all their lives, Dominicans of Haitian Descent face daily discrimination, sometimes violent. Because their parents or grandparents were born in next door Haiti, but mainly because they are black.
This story of migration and nationality, rejection and belonging resonates with people all over the world. Identity and integration have never been so relevant, as we face a global crisis over who has the right to live where, how communities form and who we are.
Denial and Denigration: How Racism Feeds Statelessness
2017 | 3 min | Full
Everyone has the right to a nationality. Yet, many millions of people worldwide are stateless. Minorities and indigenous peoples are especially vulnerable to statelessness. Through research, films, photos and case studies, our report explores how statelessness is often an outcome of discrimination and racism.
Shaheedo, Tum Kahan Ho? / Martyr, Where Are You?
Shaheedo Tum Kahan Ho gives an account of the targeted killings of members of the Shi’a Hazara community in Pakistan, highlighting how they face discrimination in their everyday lives, while security concerns and death threats make routine activities like going to school or the market a potential hazard.
This interview-based documentary weaves a comparison between the violent discrimination against the Hazara and the problems faced by couples in inter-sect marriages. References to Sufi poetry, dance and ideology delineate the philosophy of love and tolerance from the extremism which is currently rampant in some sectors of Pakistani society.
The documentary contrasts the poignancy of mothers and siblings weeping for martyrs with the good-natured humour of happily married Shi’a-Sunni couples discussing the opposition they dealt with when they were courting.
The persecution of religious minorities in Pakistan has intensified in recent years and has now reached critical levels. Despite some signs of progress, including the first democratic transition of power in May 2013, religious communities such as Ahmadis, Christians and Hindus continue to live in daily fear of harassment and intimidation.
The Manu Project: Building a 21st century queer totem for 2015 Auckland Pride
by Emma Eastwood | 2015 | 6 min | Full
The Manu Project was conceived by London-based friends and collaborators Lyall Hakaraia and Emma Eastwood.
Rights and Reconciliation for Women in Sri Lanka
2015 | 3 min | Full
Minority women continue to grapple with the legacy of Sri Lanka’s civil conflict six years after its bloody end, according to a pioneering new project by Minority Rights Group International (MRG).
Say My Name
Filmed in four countries, Say My Name, tells the stories of people on the outside of society facing extreme discrimination. Name-calling, bureaucratic loopholes and racial exclusion prevent Baniris, Valentina and Phineas and thousands of others from studying, working or healthcare. Desperate for change they become actors presenting their reality to a stunned audience.
Crossing visually diverse landscapes, we see theatre performed in the streets of Botswana, Kenya, Rwanda and the Dominican Republic. The challenge is not only to change the minds of the general public and state authorities, but also consider their own beliefs within the group. As difficulties surface they must overcome their prejudices and accept each other.
Suárez Gold – Afro-Colombian miners defending their heritage
Afro-Colombians have been carrying out small-scale mining in Colombia’s Cauca region since their ancestors settled there in 1637. Today their descendants continue to chip away at the red rock in search of gold, seeing it not only as a means for earning a modest living, but also as an activity deeply linked to their culture. Between 2002 and 2010, Colombia’s government gave out 7,500 mining exploration titles to national and foreign companies eager to exploit the country’s precious resources. In the film we hear of the Afro-Colombian community of La Toma’s brave, and sometimes deadly, struggle to prevent the invasion of mining companies and defend their ancestral livelihoods at all costs.
A Journey to Imja Lake: Climate Change in the land of the Sherpa
In the Everest region of Nepal, the Sherpa people are already facing the impact of climate change in the Himalayas: from the changes on the mountains, their spiritual gods, to the impact on food production. On our journey to Imja Lake, we witness how the increase of temperature in the region is affecting the livelihoods of the Sherpa people and other minority groups in the area. However, the melting of the glaciers poses a huge risk not only for these communities, but also for the millions of people in Asia who depend on the water of seven of the main big Asian rivers born in the Himalayas.
Cicsero: the story of a Roma news agency
2011 | 6 min | Full
Cicsero.net began its activity in October 2008 in Cserehát, which is a small and marginalized region in the North-East part of Hungary. Cicsero’s mission is to provide written and audio-visual news about issues related to the Roma minority living in Cserehát and to show the local and minority angle. This video gives you an insight into the very start of the project. You can listen to those who established the agency or were among the first trainees.
3 min | Clip
In 1974, the Endorois community were evicted from their land by the Kenyan government to make way for the Lake Bogoria game reserve and tourist resort. From generation to generation, the community has continued to struggle for reparation for their loss and restitution to their land. Yet, their efforts have been met by successive Kenyan governments only with denial and harassment.
With support from MRG’s legal department, the Endorois community have taken their claim to the highest regional human rights body, the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, to challenge the lack of consultation or compensation for the forced displacement they suffered, and the lack of protection afforded to their traditional way of life.
Those Who Remain (Mayyel ya Ghzayyel)
Al Shambouk, a high peak located in Akkar, Lebanon, is the homeland of Haykal, a Christian farmer. In this complex geographical spot a few kilometres away from Syria, Haykal decided to build a farm, and a restaurant. Each day, he deals with the dust from the neighbouring quarries, the agricultural stagnation, as well as the sectarian tensions and the political and economic repercussions of the Syrian crisis. And yet, Haykal feels he must remain in his land now more than ever. He is building his new home and defending coexistence in Lebanon with his own hands that are never too tired to work.
Minority Testimonies of Statelessness
In their own words, stateless minorities speak about how life without a nationality is affecting them and their loved ones. This video presents cases from Uganda, Iraq, Ukraine and India of Maragoli, Yezidi, Roma and Assam residents respectively.
Crossing Africa: Faith On the Road
Stories of migrants in transit countries, although overlooked in mainstream media, can be extraordinarily rich and complicated especially for minorities. ‘Crossing Africa: Faith on the Road’ explores how religion, migration and other social identities can shape the everyday lives of some of sub-Saharan Africans in Tunisia.
The documentary tells the story of an Ivoirian woman who is a member of a tiny makeshift church set up by a group of migrants in Tunis. She tells us about her unexpected journey to Tunisia, her daily life, her struggles as well as her future aspirations. Through her story, the film shows how a group of Sub-Saharan Evangelical Christians in Tunis use the space of the Church not only to share spiritual values but also to show solidarity and support across the community.
Nepal’s Kirat Sunuwars reclaiming their religious identity
by Bishal Rajbhandari | 2021 | 12 min | Full
Kirat (also known as Kirant, Kirati Mundum or Kiratism) is an indigenous animistic religion of Kirati ethnic groups, including Limbu, Rai, Koits-Sunuwar and Yakkha of Nepal. As per the 2011 census, it is the fourth largest religion in the country practiced by around 3 per cent of Nepalese population after Hinduism (81.3 per cent), Buddhism (9 per cent) and Islam (4.4 per cent). However, the ethnic organizations of those groups claim the share to be higher in line with the population of the Kirat ethnic groups.
In the context of 2021 census of Nepal, the video seeks to document the situation of and challenges for practicising Kirat religion among Koits-Sunuwar people – the third largest indigenous Kirati ethnic group. They number at least 56,000 as per the 2011 census – 17 per cent of the people follow the Kirat religion.
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- HIV in the time of the pandemic – a bitter reality
- Fishmeal factories in Gambia: a new driver for migration? – A new MRG documentary
- Dialect So-So and Fatoni in My Memory – documentary films on peace and reconciliation in Thailand’s deep south
- Those Who Remain (Mayyel ya Ghzayyel) – a film offering a fresh perspective on the aftermath of Lebanon’s civil war
- Up the Hills; Down the Valley – a film about indigenous women living with HIV in Vietnam
- Our Lives in Transit – documentary sheds light on harsh realities faced by ‘legal ghosts’ in Dominican Republic
- Say my Name – Using street theatre to address racism and discrimination
- Esclaves et discriminées : l’émancipation des femmes Haratines de Mauritanie
- Shaheedo Tum Kahan Ho – a film about Pakistan’s Hazara
- ‘Noun’ – a film about the current challenges facing Iraqi Christians
- Presentación del documental “Vidas en Tránsito”, en Madrid (España)
- ‘Our Lives in Transit’ – Film screening and Q&A in Madrid, Spain
- Film screening in Sofia, Bulgaria of MRG documentaries on Iraq and Pakistan
- Premiere screening and Q&A for documentary ‘Up the Hills; Down the Valley’
- ‘Up the Hills; Down the Valley’ – Film screening and Q&A in Bangkok, Thailand
- Film screenings of MRG documentaries – Hungary, 16 December
- Premier – new MRG documentary screening in Ha Noi