News / Asia

Human Rights Activists Applaud Pakistan's First Oscar Win

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, left, and Daniel Junge pose with their awards for best documentary short for 'Saving Face' during the 84th Academy Awards in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles, February 26, 2012.
Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, left, and Daniel Junge pose with their awards for best documentary short for 'Saving Face' during the 84th Academy Awards in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles, February 26, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
Brian Padden

In Pakistan, human rights activists are hoping the publicity surrounding the country's first Oscar winning film, a documentary about survivors of acid attacks, will help raise awareness and change the laws to protect victims of a crime that disfigures hundreds of women each year.

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Daniel Junge’s Oscar triumph for the documentary short film Saving Face has been a cause for celebration in the Pakistani filmmaker’s home country. The film focuses on the work of London-based plastic surgeon Mohammad Jawad, who travels back to his homeland to treat those disfigured by acid attacks, mostly women who were targeted by members of their own family. Oboid-Chinoy is the first Pakistani to win the prestigious award, and she dedicated her Oscar to all the women in Pakistan working for change.

Pakistani human rights activists are happy that Saving Face won the award and hope it will focus world attention on these horrific crimes against women.

Pakistani acid attack survivor, Azim Mai, 35, holds her daughter Shaziya, 8, while sitting on a bed waiting to have a massage session for their wounds, at the Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) in Islamabad, Pakistan, December 13, 2011.
Pakistani acid attack survivor, Azim Mai, 35, holds her daughter Shaziya, 8, while sitting on a bed waiting to have a massage session for their wounds, at the Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) in Islamabad, Pakistan, December 13, 2011.

Valerie Khan, Chairperson of the Acid Survivors Foundation, who also collaborated on Saving Face, says the Oscar win and the film itself send a message about the empowerment of women.

“It's the women, the Pakistani women, who have won the first Oscar," said Khan. "So it means you also have Pakistani women who are empowered, and again this film is all about hope and and tomorrow, progress. It is not about victims. It is about surviving and turning into agents of change.”

She says there are more than 200 acid burning attacks against women in Pakistan each year. Activists hope the award-winning documentary will help make more people aware of the problem and pressure the government to take stronger measures to protect women. Last year, the country's parliament passed laws that explicitly criminalized acid attacks. But human rights groups want laws that also address rehabilitation and financial assistance for the victims.

Nayyar Shabana Kiyani of the Aurat Foundation, a women's rights organization, say she thinks the film's success will move the issue to the forefront of policy makers' agendas.

“You know, the issue of acid burning cases in Pakistan is quite critical and a number of women are basically being victimized by their spouses sometimes, by their family members, immediate family members, so I think this will bring a very [significant] change in terms of policy and legislation,” said Kiyani.

Kiyani says she is encouraged by the film's international acclaim and its message: that through dedication and commitment, real change can be achieved.

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid