Actress and activist makes impassioned plea for human rights during Bosnia debate

Actress and activist Vanessa Redgrave made an impassioned plea for the safeguarding of human rights during a special debate held at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) this week.


Ms Redgrave CBE and her son, director Carlo Nero (pictured above), took part in a panel discussion centred on the screening of Nero’s film Bosnia Rising, which she produced.

The film told the story of workers in Bosnia whose protests at the closure of their factory sparked violent protests across the state in February last year. Protestors said it was a reaction to years of privatisation, stripping of assets and the creation of a wealthy elite which had led to huge problems for the country’s economy.

It was the first time the film had been publicly shown since its recent premiere in London.

Following the screening was a panel discussion involving Ms Redgrave, Mr Nero, land activist and economist Fred Harrison, Dr Damir Arsenijevic, Leverhulme Fellow at DMU and Dr Kenneth Morrison, reader in Modern Southeast European History at DMU, who organised the event.

In the wide-ranging, lively debate, scholars argued the ethics of economics, the impact of the EU and the Greek financial crisis as well as human rights issues not only in Bosnia but around the world.  

“We have a problem in that that governments want to oppose the human rights that we have, so we have to enter into legal struggles,” Ms Redgrave told the audience of academics and students.

“Human rights are going so fast every day. When you are working for human rights, you can’t say the socialists can have human rights and the others can’t; you don’t say the Marxists can have human rights and the others can’t; you say everyone has got them, and I’m going to fight for the people who at this moment have not got them.

“The present government are getting rid of human rights every day that we speak."

Dr Morrison said afterwards: "The screening of the film generated some interesting and lively debate, not simply about the contemporary political, social and economic situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but of wider ideas about civic engagement in politics, the role of ideology, alternative approaches to economic development and human rights. It was tremendous to see such engagement from the audience and such passion from the panel.

"It was wonderful for DMU to bring Vanessa Redgrave, Carlo Nero and Fred Harrison to our campus for this event, and I'm delighted that their contributions generated such lively debate on important contemporary issues."

The event was supported by the DMU Jean Monnet Centre for European Governance, the DMU Centre for Adaptations and the Faculty of Art, Design and Humanities.
Posted on Friday 6th February 2015

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