20 June 2011 A short film based on the story of a Palestinian refugee family returning to their ruined home in a conflict-ravaged camp in Lebanon was today declared the winner of a film competition organized by the United Nations to mark World Refugee Day.
The film by 25-year-old Tahani Awad from Nahr el-Bared refugee camp in Lebanon impressed the panel of judges with its powerful, yet understated portrayal of the experience of the family, according to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which organized the competition.
The theme of the contest, which was open to young Palestinian filmmakers across the Middle East, was ‘My World.’
“We invited young Palestinian refugees to show their talents, and to tell us about their world and their lives because the refugees, and in particular, our young students deserve a chance to speak to the world,” said Filippo Grandi, the UNRWA Commissioner-General, at a screening of the winning entries.
“What we received was an incredible glimpse into the reality, creativity and potential of people who have so often been marginalized and ignored but who are increasingly making their voices heard,” he said.
Over the next few weeks UNRWA will feature a selection of entries on its website and YouTube channel, starting with Ms. Tahani’s film.
UNRWA is mandated to provide services to 4.8 million Palestinian refugees living in Gaza, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and the West Bank.
In his message to mark World Refugee Day, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the world to consider the plight of the millions of people forced from their homes and who, in most cases, want to return to their places of origin to start lives afresh.
“Let us never lose sight of our shared humanity,” said Mr. Ban.
He noted that whereas traditionally the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) supported those fleeing conflict or persecution, people are increasingly forced to leave their homes as a result of extreme poverty, environmental degradation, climate change and the growing and complex interrelationship between those factors and conflict.
“The burden of helping the world’s forcibly displaced people is starkly uneven. Poor countries host vastly more displaced people than wealthier ones. Anti-refugee sentiment is heard loudest in industrialised countries. This situation demands an equitable solution,” said the Secretary-General.
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