The Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan, Dr Geoffrey Shaw, today hosted a screening of the Australian film Guilty and participated in a panel discussion on its themes.

The event was part of the annual Human Rights Reel film festival organised by the European Union and United Nations in the run up to International Human Rights Day.

Dr Shaw commended the film festival as a constructive way to foster public discussion about human rights. The Australian entry explored difficult themes around the death penalty.

“The film Guilty is a thoughtful and sensitive work about Myuran Sukumaran, an Australian executed overseas for drug smuggling in 2015,” Dr Shaw said.

“Myuran spent a decade on death row before facing the firing squad. During this time, he became an accomplished painter and art teacher. Art gave him purpose and a path to rehabilitation, but both were cut short.”

Dr Shaw hoped that Guilty – which had been shown to acclaim at film festivals around the world – would resonate well with the Pakistani audience.

“Australian states and territories gradually abolished the death penalty over the course of the 20th century. In 2010, the Australian Government passed a law that prevents any Australian state or territory from ever reintroducing the death penalty,” he said.

“Australia encourages every country to join us in ending the death penalty in all circumstances for all people,” Dr Shaw said.

The Founder of Justice Project Pakistan Sarah Belal and human rights activist Tahira Abdullah joined the panel discussion moderated by TV host Amber Shamsi.