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Stories on Human Rights by
Filmmakers, Artists & Writers

Edited By ART for the World
December 2008
Mondadori Electa, Milan, Italy
Distributed By Trans-Atlantic Publications
205 Pages, Illustrated, 250 color photos 9 x 7 3/4 "

$42.50 Paper Original

Introductory note by Navanethem Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights:

"Some of the most influential campaigners for human rights across the centuries have been artists and writers who, through their skill at placing the viewer or reader inside the predicaments of others, alerted the rest of us to the inadequacy or abuse of individuals' rights, and challenged us to change the status quo.

"Most major human rights issues were explored in the arts long before they were dealt with by the politicians and law-makers. Women writers, for example, played a crucial role in the development of women's rights. And the development of film and television added a powerful new dimension to the exposure of abuses.

"It is therefore appropriate that the project Stories on Human Rights, a collaboration between my office and ART for the World, celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights via the work of some of the world's leading filmmakers, writers and other artists.

"The series of short films by award-winning directors featured in this book are the centre-piece of a creative effort designed to sensitize people across the planet about what "human rights" actually mean. Both the films, and the accompanying collection of stories by twelve of the world's most illustrious authors - including five Nobel Prize winners - illustrate how art can be a powerful promoter of change.

"The Universal Declaration, adopted unanimously by states of 10 December 1948, is a visionary document. For the first time, all of us - every man, woman, and child, belonging to every race, color, or creed - had an explicit charter that laid down precisely what rights we could expect and demand.

"The inventory of universal ideals contained in the Declaration's famous thirty articles is succinct and fundamental: they range from the most fundamental of all - the right to life - to those that make life worth living, such as the right not to be tortured or enslaved, and the rights to liberty, freedom of self-expression, peaceful assembly, education, work, and health.

"The film directors have succeeded in fusing the universal language of images with the universal values of human rights. Their work illustrates with startling clarity that the principles underpinning the Universal Declaration can be found in virtually all cultures and traditions, and that their promotion everywhere remains a goal of the highest order."

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