The idea of Karama (“Dignity” in English) Human Rights Film Festival (KHRFF) was initiated in June 2009 by three Rights and Social Justice Activists; Ms. Sawsan Darwaza (Theater Director and Filmmaker), Mr. Ihab Al Khatib (Filmmakers & Producer) and Mr. Ayman Bardawil (Media, Educational Expert & Producer).
While many regional and international human rights organizations have created and enhanced the discourse on human rights in the region, no significant public platform for the discussion of such issues has occurred in Jordan or the neighboring Arab countries. As most traditional HR organizations focus on monitoring and reporting HR violations, conducting field or academic research, leading advocacy campaigns mostly at policy level and/or providing capacity building for activists and practitioners, the larger ‘general public’ continues to be excluded from being informed of and/or engaged in such discourse.
Considering these reasons, the initiation of Karama came to address the lack of an independent human rights platform that is able to bring complicated notions of human rights issues closer to the general public in addition to other stakeholders in the Arab Region and beyond. For the founders, the festival is a platform that utilizes screen arts that involve human rights and justice issues as their subject matter, in order to create a cross-cultural platform for the wider general public together with filmmakers, artists, activists and other stakeholders. By doing so, the public awareness will be raised and engagement in actions that would elimination HR violations will be encouraged. Hence, Karama’s main focus, despite the various themes highlighted each year, is human rights issues in relation to the concept of human beings’ dignity and with a social, political and economic justice lens.