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Ferentari in Bucharest © Valeriu Nicolae

Brussels’ Millenium International Documentary Film Festival 2015

On 28 March 2015, the Romanian movie Toto and his sisters by Alexander Nanau won the Objectif d’Or, the first prize at the Brussels’ Millenium International Documentary Film Festival. The nine-year-old protagonist who lives in extreme poverty in a predominantly Romani urban ghetto in Bucharest is left alone with his sisters while his mother spends years in prison for drug trafficking. The camera follows the child and his two older sisters, struggling to find new hope against all the odds. The result is a powerful movie which does not disguise the harsh reality of the ghetto but avoids fatalism and leaves the viewers amazed at human resilience.

The United Nations Team in Brussels has cooperated with the Millenium Film Festival since its foundation in 2009, providing it with financial and moral support. Its name and vocation is related to the Millennium Development Goals, but the scope of the documentary films shown at the festival has always been much broader, covering also subjects which are intimately linked to human rights. Since 2010, the UN Human Rights Office has been supporting the festival financially and awarding the Special Prize for Best Human Rights Message. This year, Regional Representative Jan Jařab represented the UN in the International Jury of the Festival."

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Human Rights Day Celebration in Brussels 2014 © Image: YAK

Human Rights Day Celebration in Brussels 2014

On 10 December every year, we celebrate the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We remind each other that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights – but also that there are many challenges in the world that continue preventing many people from the full enjoyment of their human rights.
Human Rights at International Borders © OHCHR Regional Office for Europe

Human Rights at International Borders

An increasing flow of migrants are undertaking perilous and dangerous journeys to reach European shores. So far this year, more than 165,000 migrants have crossed the Mediterranean, compared to 60,000 last year, and over 3,000 have died or are missing at sea.

Human Rights in the news

Eritrean diaspora in Belgium
The Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Eritrea, Sheila B. Keetharuth, started an official visit to Belgium (9-11 March) to collect first-hand information from Eritrean refugees and migrants on the human rights situation in Eritrea
UN Human Rights Office welcomes Greece’s envisaged changes in migration policy
The Regional Office for Europe of the United Nations Human Rights Office (OHCHR) welcomes the plan of the new Government of Greece for a comprehensive change of migration policy, as announced by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on 8 February 2015.
Urgent appeal to the Netherlands
UN rights experts urge the Dutch Government to provide homeless irregular migrants in the Netherlands with emergency assistance -such as food, clothing, and shelter- before Christmas.
Human Rights 365 Days a Year
To mark Human Rights Day, the Regional Representative for Europe from the UN Human Rights Office states that the enjoyment of all human rights should be part of everyone’s everyday reality.
Persons with disabilities
Persons with disabilities should no longer be seen as passive recipients or “objects” of care, but as rights-holders living on equal footing with other members of society.
Human rights in Europe