Welcome to the Northern Ireland
Human Rights Festival 2018!


We hope that you enjoy the programme of events that we have developed this year to help enable discussion, debate and activism across a spectrum of human rights issues.

We are very grateful for the support of our festival partners, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland who have helped us sustain the festival and brought important human rights issues to the programme.

Once again, we are overwhelmed by the pool of talented artists and dedicated organisations who have supported us in developing the festival. A special mention in this regard to Libraries NI who have developed a series of activities across the programme and to our artists in residence Accidental Theatre who have lined up some great drama and comedy throughout the week.


2018 marks a series of important human rights anniversaries. 100 years since partial suffrage for women, 70 years since the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 50 years since the emergence of the Civil Rights movement in Northern Ireland and20 years since the signing of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement.

The theme of the festival has therefore been interwoven with the concept of 100, 70, 50, 20 to commemorate those special events and their importance for human rights. The theme also provides a spring board to discuss what has been accomplished since those important milestones and what human rights goals have yet to be achieved.

Those events in themselves played an important role in advancing the protection of human rights locally and internationally. Yet there are still distinct barriers to full equality for women, rights are unfortunately not universally enjoyed at the global or local level, our communities in Northern Ireland are still divided and there are considerable equality challenges yet to be faced and twenty years after our peace settlement we have yet to seethe type of human rights-based governance envisioned in the Agreement.

The challenge of celebrating and striving to protect human rights continues. We hope the festival gives you food for thought about how you can contribute to that process.

We’ve come a long way, but we still have work to do. Together.

Enjoy the festival.