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Encuentro de Cultura y Derechos Humanos denounces the pain caused by racism and homophobia on La Palma, La Gomera, Tenerife and Gran Canaria

Migrations, humanitarian crises in different parts of the world, the fight against homophobia and racism are the focus of the VI edition of the Festival Encuentro de Cultura y Derechos Humanos, which will be held in May and June in Tenerife, La Palma, Gran Canaria and La Gomera. Cinema, exhibitions, conferences and live music will come together to promote and support the defence of justice and freedom and to create an environment that protects human rights, to promote respect for them and to denounce their non-fulfilment. The first of the activities will take place on the Colombian island this Wednesday, 1 May, at the Casa de Cultura Pedro García Cabrera, in Vallehermoso, with the exhibition and recital Liberia. The exhibition will be open to the public free of charge until 3 June.

Created by Dtproject, Liberia shows the devastation of the African country, after years of wars and coups d'état. Not only have the human rights of its inhabitants been violated during the armed conflicts, but the population now faces a shortage of the basic means to survive, with no running water or electricity, a judicial and health system that is practically non-existent, and an abandoned interior of the country. In this way, the Festival Encuentro de Cultura y Derechos Humanos gives a voice to a population that is currently forgotten by the rest of the world.

The event is funded through the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan, integrated in the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism (‘Next Generation EU Funds’). This sixth edition has the support of the public companies of the Government of the Canary Islands, Promotur Turismo de Canarias S.A. and Instituto Canario de Desarrollo Cultural S.A., Cabildo Insular de Tenerife, Ayuntamiento de Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Ayuntamiento de Vallehermoso, the collaboration of Café Teatro Rayuela, Casa del Conde de Argual, and the production and organisation of Cauproges.

Portraits of Pain

If this sixth edition begins in La Gomera, with the exhibition Liberia, the visual arts in favour of human rights will also be present in the Casa del Conde del Llano de Argual, in Los Llanos de Aridane, in La Palma, with the exhibition Pain/dolor. Flashes and history by Alejandro Mutis. These are photographs by Marco Mira, which can be enjoyed from 2 to 23 May. The same exhibition will move to the Casa de Cultura Pedro García Cabrera, in Vallehermoso (La Gomera), where it will remain from 3 to 30 June.

Eighteen photographs portray the pain suffered by Alejandro Mutis, victim of racism and homophobia, who obtained a pioneering sentence from the Provincial Court of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, victim of a double hate crime. Mutis is an actor, playwright and multidisciplinary artist, born in Venezuela, who came to Spain after his participation in the successful soap operas Cristal and La Dama de Rosa.

Emergencia Musical en Canarias' (Musical Emergence in the Canary Islands)

The Café Teatro Rayuela in Santa Cruz de Tenerife will host the ‘Emergencia Musical en Canarias’ series, with five live concerts at 21:00, with free admission until full capacity is reached. Orlim (3 May), Duele (4 May), Cheap Manifesto (11 May), Nave Rota (17 May) and Molina (18 May) will perform.

This Festival thus marks music as a universal language and artistic expression considered a human right. In fact, article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights establishes the right to freely choose the cultural life in which one wishes to participate and enjoy the arts. This initiative proposes, on this occasion, a cycle of music by emerging pop rock bands from the Canary Islands, thus giving space to an artistic movement led by musicians who are making their way, with a repertoire of their own creation.

Cinema and Human Rights

Three screenings will take place at the Casa de Cultura Pedro García Cabrera, in Vallehermoso, La Gomera, related to gender violence and migration, both the current one and the one in which the Canary Islanders were involved decades ago. The sessions will take place at 19:30 and admission is free until full capacity is reached.

The cycle will begin on the 4th of May with Solo una vez, and will continue on the 11th of May with Samba, un nombre borrado, and will end on the 18th of May with the screening of Tras la estela del Valbanera.

Thus, while the film Solo una vez, directed by Guillermo Ríos, deals with the detection of abuse and harassment in a couple, Samba, un nombre borrado, a documentary by Intermedia Producciones, directed by Mariano Agudo, allows us to identify one of the people who died on the beach of El Tarajal, in Ceuta, in 2014, when a group of migrants tried to cross the Spanish border and the Guardia Civil intervened. Fifteen people died and the events have still gone unpunished.

Finally, this Festival is showing Tras la estela del Valbanera, a historical documentary by director Federico José Pérez, which deals with the shipwreck of this ship, full of Canarian migrants on their way to Havana, who did not survive. The year 2019 marked the 100th anniversary of this tragedy.

Cultural Management

On the other hand, the Cicca Cultural Centre, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, will host, on 22 May at 19:30, the conference ‘Is silence an option? Freedom of expression and Lawfare’.

The 6th edition of the Festival Encuentro de Cultura y Derechos Humanos continues to demonstrate how culture is an essential tool for reflection and the defence of people's wellbeing. With this programme, it addresses gender violence, migration and the humanitarian crisis in countries devastated by war, but there are many more areas in which human rights are violated in different parts of the world. This Festival is more necessary than ever, at a time when armed conflicts are taking place in different continents and, despite the technological and social advances of the 21st century, the most basic human rights continue to be violated.

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