Global Migration Film Festival comes to South Sudan and Abyei Administrative Area
Juba – Now in its third year, the Global Migration Film Festival brought over 40 films to more than 100 countries around the world between 28 November and yesterday (18/12), International Migrants Day.The International Organization for Migration (IOM) in South Sudan hosted screenings in Wau and Juba. The Organization also held a screening in the Abyei Administrative Area.
In Wau last week, INVISIBLES about migration to Spain helped Government participants at an IOM-organized countering trafficking training to better understand the people, the causes and the consequences of migration flows. On the final day of the six-day training, which took place today (18/12), IOM screened a second film, On the Same Boat, which is a collection of personal stories from asylum seekers, who arrived in Sardinia, an Italian island. The films were included as part of the training to humanize and personalize the struggles people face when migrating.
This training took place under the Better Migration Management Project (BMM). BMM is a regional, multi-year, multi-partner programme co-funded by the EU Trust Fund for Africa and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). BMM aims to provide capacity building to improve migration management, particularly to prevent and address irregular migration, including smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons.
The flagship screening in Juba was a joint effort between IOM and Advance South Sudan, a South Sudanese non-governmental organization (NGO) working with young people. Students from the University of Juba and Upper Nile University come together to watch and discuss the film Bushfallers. The film showcases four young filmmakers, two from Cameroon and two from Germany, who embark on a journey to answer a simple question, with a complex answer: why do Africans choose to migrate to Europe?
During the event, Acholi Group and WJ performed traditional dances and songs about migration. WJ even discussed his own personal journey as a South Sudanese refugee in Uganda. A representative from the Government of South Sudan’s Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports also addressed the students. He spoke about the importance not only of migration but also preserving culture.
In his closing remarks during the Juba screening, Mawa Nemaya, Advance South Sudan’s Executive Director, said, “We are seeking to unite people around common values drawn from diverse cultures and traditions, that's why our organization always incorporates cultural dance and musical performances with our debates to generate conversations on issues surrounding migration and promotion of tolerance among host communities and migrants especially during the implementation process of the R-ARCISS [Revitalized-Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict] in South Sudan.”
Also speaking during the awards ceremony, Jean-Philippe Chauzy, IOM South Sudan Chief of Mission, emphasized the importance of such discussions. “Our film festival uses film as an educational tool to influence attitudes towards migrants in a positive way, highlighting their overall contributions to society and the struggles that many face in today’s world on the move,” said IOM Chief of Mission Chauzy.
In relation to the theme of the day, Chauzy said, “Time and time again, irregular migrants are not afforded dignity. However, every person has a right to be treated with dignity and respect always regardless of the migration status.”
In the Abyei Administrative Area, IOM screened The Girl, Whose Shadow Reflects the Moon, through which 17-year-old Khaldiya meditates on how the refugee camp has opened up new horizons and gave her a sense of courage that she lacked in Syria. The audience, which comprised of IOM’s peace club teacher facilitators, also watched Abu Adnan, which tells the story of Sayid and his son Adnan, who fled Syria and resettled in Denmark where Adnan is integrating faster than his father. IOM’s peace club initiative in Abyei is funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
Following the screening, the teachers discussed how migration and displacement can have specific effects on children, as highlighted by the films they watched. One participant said, “Children can cope quicker than adults and adults can find it more difficult to integrate.” Another explained that children, who migrate, can easily be exploited for labour purposes or even end up living on the streets.
IOM’s activities in South Sudan are funded by the governments of Japan, Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Germany and Switzerland, and through the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO), South Sudan Humanitarian Fund, UNAIDS, the Global Fund to AIDS, TB and Malaria, the South Sudan Peacebuilding Fund, the World Bank and the BMM programme.