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The Northern Ireland Human Rights Festival

nihrfThe Northern Ireland Human Rights Festival will takes place this year from 6th – 12th December.

From comedy, poetry, music and film to discussion, lectures and exhibitions and everything in between, there is a diverse schedule of events in this year’s programme. Their aim will be to inform and entertain as well as to stimulate debate about human rights and the importance of not only celebrating these rights but in protecting them too. All events are open to the public and a lot of them are free.

Each year the 10th December is celebrated as Human Rights Day across the world. The date marks the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption and proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948. Civil society groups across the world use this date as an opportunity to celebrate and mark the importance of human rights globally.

Every year organisations across Northern Ireland have held events in the week surrounding this date to mark the occasion and highlight different aspects of human rights as they apply locally and internationally. In 2012 a number of these organisations came together to pool those individual events into a programme of activities promoted together for the first time as the Northern Ireland Human Rights Festival.

Colin Hassard, the Festival Artist-in-Residence, will be performing at a number of events including Breaking Bard on 6th December. In this he will mix poetry, music and comedy in a show that will challenge your perception of what spoken-word poetry can be. His poems are noted for their delivery, thought-provoking content, and emotional response, as well as his own unique brand of humour. Exploring the theme of heroes and villains, he describes the event as being like his previous show, Quantum of Sonnets “but bigger, better and sexier. (Note – may not be sexier).”

Colin will be supporting well known performance poet Hollie McNish on 8th December. Hollie has garnered titles like “boundary breaker” (Marie Claire)” and poet Benjamin Zephaniah stated “I can’t take my ears off her”. Her album Versus was recorded at Abbey Road Studios, London and her second collection of poems “Cherry Pie”, was released by Burning Eye Books in 2015.

The various film screenings include 9th December’s Departing: “Arrivals – the Syrian Story”, a film by Hafsah Naib about war, parenthood and survival, presented by Belfast Film Festival, Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the Equality Coalition.

There will be a party in the Sunflower Bar on 12th December to close the festival. But they also want to continue the sentiment of the Refugee Welcome Party that they will be holding earlier in the day. So in partnership with the West Against Racism Network they will have a banging live music line-up including bands like The Dirty Words. This won’t cost you money to get in, but instead they ask that you bring a present for the child of a refugee.

Box Office – For some free events registration is required and details of how to do this are in the listings. Where tickets are available to buy in advance they will be available through the venue’s box office or via a link on the festival website. Please see the event listing for details.

Writer and Editor for Gigging NI.