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#Honour: Kailash Satyarthi to receive Harvard Humanitarian of the Year award.

Nobel Peace-prize winning rights campaigner Kailash Satyarthi is to receive the Harvard Humanitarian of the Year Award, the first Indian to be selected for the honour.

The annual award by the prestigious Harvard University is given to an individual whose works and deeds have served to improve the quality of lives and have inspired us to greater heights.

The award ceremony is scheduled to take place on Friday, at Harvard University.

Previous winners of the honour include former UN Secretary Generals Kofi Annan and Boutros Boutros Ghali; South African rights campaigner Desmond Tutu and the Jewish writer and activist Elie Wiesel.

Mr Satyarthi’s charity Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save the Childhood Movement) is credited with rescuing more than 80,000 enslaved children over the past forty years.

His work recently has focussed on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s)one of which is to end modern-day slavery.

Although slavery is illegal everywhere, almost 36 million people are believed enslaved worldwide – many of those in India.

Mr Satyarthi took his message to the United Nations in New York last month and this week called on governments to allocate adequate budgets and design suitable policies to achieve the SDG’s.

"Freedom has always been considered a matter of human rights, but for the first time it has been acknowledged that without freedom there can be no development.

"Governments should now prioritise child-centred development goals and devise more holistic policies interlinking education, trafficking, slavery and child labour and violence against children because they are all connected."

The UKAsian spoke to Mr Satyarthi earlier this year to talk about his journey and what remains to be done.

Here’s the video of that encounter:

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#Dishonour: ‘Forced Marriage Cops’ – The most important TV programme of the year.

On Wednesday night (Sept 30) Channel Four broadcasts arguably the most important TV programme of 2015 – lifting the lid on forced marriage and so-called “honour” crime in Britain’s ethnic minority communities.

‘Forced Marriage Cops’ follows a group of specially-trained officers tasked with investigating the crimes in and around Greater Manchester.

Producers spent nearly two years following the officers as they try to crack down on a scourge that claims scores of victims every year but goes largely unreported.

In the programme, we meet a 26-year-old woman who turns to the police for help after fleeing her abusive father and another woman who was forced into marriage 16 years ago but is now armed with enough knowledge about the laws to realize that she can be free.

Across Manchester there have been 239 reported incidents of honour based abuse and forced marriage although the true scale of the abuse is much more widespread given the closed nature of many communities.

So-called honour crime came to public prominence in 2009 following the murder of Warrington teenager Shafelia Ahmed.

Her parents killed their ‘westernised’ teenage daughter because they believed she had brought shame on the family.  They were only brought to justice in 2013.

Detective Chief Superintendent Vanessa Jardine, head of Greater Manchester Police’s Public Protection Division, said: “I am delighted that Channel 4 decided to follow the work of our teams – it’s a truly ground-breaking look at the work we do to tackle this crime, which is often concealed by families behind closed doors.

“Each day we work with our partners and local community to detect and protect victims and tackle what is an incredibly sensitive subject.  There are thousands of women affected throughout the country and we want this production to show them that help available and they will be taken seriously.

“Being forced into marriage to uphold family honour is not acceptable and everyone should have the right to choose who they want to spend their lives with”.

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#LFF2015: Check out the amazing South Asian line-up at this year’s London Film Festival.

It’s set to be another extraordinary year for South Asian cinema and films inspired by the region and its people at the London Film Festival 2015.

Here are some of the highlights.   

Beeba Boys

Acclaimed director Deepa Mehta kicks down new doors with this energetic gangster movie that also explores South Asian family values.  Set in Vancouver’s Sikh immigrant badlands, it finds young kingpin Jeet Johar (Randeep Hooda) and his sharp-suited gang the Beeba Boys on the rise.  So far, they’ve left a trail of blood in their attempt to take over the local drugs market.  However, when Jeet isn’t managing his cadre of dapper toughs, he’s doing his best to be a respectful son to his mother, to follow his religion with as much diligence as his profession will allow, and to hold his crumbling family together. 

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