Cultural partnerships

As part of the International Film Festival on Human Rights (FIFDH, Geneva, Switzerland), we present the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) Award. This 5,000 CHF prize goes yearly to a filmmaker highlighting a particularly difficult situation demonstrating the vital importance of the fight for human rights.

  • The 2024 prize went to Total Trust by Jialing Zhang, a female journalist and filmmaker exiled in the US. The documentary vividly portrays the persecution of Chinese human rights defenders and exposes the use of cutting-edge state surveillance technology to control the lives of millions of people tightly. Torture prohibition allows individuals to shape their personality and views and establish their dignity, which is the essence of being human. Zhang has won several international awards for her films dealing with sensitive issues such as water pollution, the damage caused by the electronics industry and the one-child policy.
  • The 2023 prize was awarded to Abbas Rezaie's immersive documentary Etilaat Roz, set in a Kabul newsroom during the Taliban takeover. The film describes the courage of journalists in the face of a new regime that rejects freedom of expression and reminds us that men and women fight for human rights in Afghanistan every day.
  • The 2022 prize went to White Torture by Narges Mohammadi, a prominent Iranian human rights defender and journalist who is now again detained in the notorious Evin prison. The harrowing testimonies in the film leave no doubt: solitary confinement and other forms of psychological torture may leave no physical scars, but they are equally efficient at profoundly damaging the women and men who have endured them. Additionally, a special mention goes to Ne nous racontez plus d’histoires for its profoundly moving and insightful description of the selective amnesia towards the Algerian war that is still widespread 60 years on, both in France and Algeria.
  • The 2021 prize was awarded to Shalini Kantayya's Coded Bias. The film powerfully depicts the threats that artificial intelligence poses to our liberties, including hardwiring racist and sexist biases into algorithms. Yet Kantayya also leaves us hopeful by showing that determined action can ensure our future is better than our dystopian present.
  • The 2022 OMCT prize was awarded to Délit de solidarité, a Temps Présent (RTS, Switzerland) documentary featuring ordinary citizens who don't hesitate to brave the law by helping migrants and refugees at risk. The authors, Pietro Boschetti and Frank Preiswerk managed, in a sober but profoundly moving way, to drive us to the essence of what human rights is about by asking a simple question: what do we do, as human beings, when the law prevents us from showing basic humanity to those most in need, just because they don’t have a legal status?
  • 2019: Congo Lucha by Marlène Rabaud. A strong film that takes us into the daily life of a group of young people who promote democracy and human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. An unusual spotlight that gives hope for the future of a country torn by multiple conflicts for more than 25 years.
  • 2018: Anatomy of a crime by Cécile Allegra. This film, set in Libya, dissects the doubly unjust paradox of torture. In addition to being tortured, the victims are locked in silence because they cannot understand what they went through, for fear of reprisals, and because of the shame that overwhelms them, especially in Libya when the torture is sexual. This film shows how vital the work of investigators is to bring relief to these victims, deliver justice, and prevent further crimes.
  • 2017: Silent War by Manon Loizeau. Chronicle of rape used as a weapon of repression and mass destruction in the Syria of Bashar al-Assad.
  • 2016: Voyage en Barbarie by Delphine Deloget. This film is a poignant description of the smuggling and torture of Eritrean migrants in the Sinai Desert, Egypt, one of the greatest humanitarian dramas unfolding amid migratory flows.
  • 2015: Chechnya, a war without traces by Manon Loizeau. For its strength and relevance as a testimony on human rights violations, its tribute to the victims of torture and kidnappings by the regime of Ramzan Kadyrov, who reigns as an absolute autocrat. This film reminds us of a dramatic situation that increasingly goes ignored by the wider world.
  • 2014: Global Gay by Frédéric Martel and Rémi Lainé, a film that embodies the courage and commitment of those defenders who fight for the respect of the rights of LGBTI people.
  • 2013: Outlawed in Pakistan by Habiba Nosheen and Hilke Schellmann. This documentary recounts the devastation brought by archaic customs, compounded by a lack of State protection and a dysfunctional justice system: a victim of gang rape finds herself doubly criminalized as her own society is in denial. There is, however, a touch of hope as the survivor resists, with help from her family and Pakistani civil society. The film's undeniable cinematographic quality reinforces the story.
  • 2012: Belarusian Dream, highlighting the struggle of human rights defenders in a European country.
  • The 2011 prize was awarded to Mylène Sauloy for Who Killed Natasha? (France), a documentary that examines the murder of Natacha Estemirova, a journalist and human rights defender working with the Russian NGO "Memorial." The fight for truth and against impunity is more necessary than ever in Russia and elsewhere. This film shows the courage of those who fight for this ideal, the difficulties they face, and the terrible repression that may affect them.
  • 2011 Special Mention: Juan Jose Lozano and Holmann Morris for Impunity (Switzerland, France, Colombia). In this documentary, the filmmakers have risked everything to expose the application of the "Justice and Peace" Colombian law that was a machine to pardon the worst murderers.
  • The 2010 prize was awarded to Aude Léa Rapin and Adrien Selbert for Nino’s Place (France) on the 1995 mass killings of men and boys in Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • The 2009 prize was awarded to Christian Zerbid for En terre étrangère (France) on the situation of undocumented aliens. In addition, Serge Gordey, Robby Elmaliah, and Khali al Muzayyen received a Special Mention for Gaza-Sderot, chroniques d’avant-guerre (France) on the women's daily lives, children, and men of the two cities in November and December 2008.
  • The 2008 prize was awarded to Carmen Castillo for Calle Sante Fe (Chile/France/Belgium) on the filmmaker’s life as a committed activist and the dramatic story of how the Pinochet coup victimised Chile.
  • The 2007 prize was awarded to Andreas Hoessli for Swiss sans papiers (Switzerland) on some of the most restrictive laws on foreigners in Europe.

    Christine Schuller-Deschryver received a Special Mention for Congo, un combat pour la vie, by Patrick Forestier (France).

  • The 2006 prize was awarded to Liu Wei for Year by Year (China) on the daily lives of petitioners in China.
  • Shira Pinson received a Special Mention for Flowers don’t grow here (Great Britain) on the more than 1 million street children in Ukraine.
  • The 2005 prize was awarded to Vinayan Kodoth for Journeys (India) on the violations of economic, social, and cultural rights in India.
  • The 2004 prize was awarded to Yury Khashchavatski for Prisoners of the Caucasus (Belarus/Poland/Germany) on the tragedy of Chechnya.
  • The 2003 prize was awarded to Ayfer Ergün for Against My Will (Netherlands/Pakistan) on honour crimes in Pakistan.