Nilofar Bayat features on the poster for the 19th San Sebastian Human Rights Film Festival

19th Human Rights Festival

14.02.22

The female Afghan activist and basketball player Nilofar Bayat features on the poster for the 19th San Sebastian Human Rights Film Festival, to take place from 1-8 April 2022 at the Victoria Eugenia Theatre and other places throughout the city.

This year the Festival poster breaks away from its conceptual line of recent years to feature this fighter for the rights of women in her country.

The photograph is the work of SISU 360º (Jotta Zubiría & Uxue Montero) and the poster is designed by Ytantos.

Nilofar Bayat was only a girl when a rocket fired by the Taliban militia entered her home, killing her brother and leaving her seriously wounded. She has suffered from serious mobility problems ever since. Despite her situation, Nilofar forced herself to make the most of the slight relaxation felt when the Taliban left power to take up her studies, now that she was allowed to, first of all at secondary school and later at university, where she studied Law. A worker with the International Red Cross at its rehabilitation centre in Kabul, there she promoted sports among women with functional diversity, an endeavour which led, with time, to constitution of the national wheelchair basketball selection. Captain of the team, she participated in numerous international competitions; however, just as they we were working on a new round of meetings, the Afghan Government fell, having lost the support of the military coalition coordinated by the United States. Nilofar immediately realised that if in their day the Taliban had taken part of her body, now they would strip her of everything she had achieved and, above all, the hope of seeing the women of her country move towards equality and progress. She didn't give it a second thought: convinced that her life was in danger, she decided to launch an SOS through her journalist friends, a plea answered by the Spanish Government, who issued her with a pass for her evacuation from Kabul.

Once in Spain, the Bidaideak association of persons with functional diversity reached out to help her start rebuilding her life. Nilofar plays basketball in their team, the Bidaideak Bilbao BSR, having joined other women to create Free Women for Afghanistan, from which she aims to develop collaboration projects with groups of women with disability in her country and, above all, to condemn the situation that the Taliban Government envisages for them.

"Don't forget the women of Afghanistan", she says time and again, and her voice, gentle yet firm, calls on all men and women to make solidarity a reality.

More information: 19th Human Rights Film Festival