Human Rights Human Wrongs

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Release date: December 07, 1996
Produced by: Goals 2000 Arts Education Partnership
Running time: 60 minutes

It had become clear that by the mid 90s the numbers of prisoners of conscience were declining world wide. For BBC2, it was time to change their "Prisoners of Conscience" series which had run for 5 years, so the decision was made to expand the former five-minute format to give more context and more time to chosen themes. A new 10-minute slot emerged, again with a presenter and again retaining a personal story, but this time taking as our focus a different subject or issue such as Genocide, Censorship, Slave Labour and Violence Against women.

To mark the 40th anniversary of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1988, Rex Bloomstein conceived and produced a new series for the BBC called ‘Prisoners of Conscience’. This featured the stories of individual prisoners from around the world. The series ran for five years and featured more than sixty prisoners, of whom over forty are now free. Presenters included Sir Yehudi Menhuin, former Prime Ministers Lord Callaghan and Sir Edward Heath, Sting, Glenda Jackson, Tom Stoppard, Phil Collins and the former hostages John McCarthy and Brian Keenan. ‘Human Rights, Human Wrongs’, a week of 10-minute programmes on human rights themes then evolved, and were broadcast annually. These were presented by amongst others, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Salman Rushdie, Arthur Miller, Helen Mirren, Meryl Streep, Isabelle Allende, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Catherine Deneuve.