A documentary highlighting the courage of a female police officer as she fights against sexual abuse in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo has won the SIGNIS-WACC Human Rights Award 2017.

Maman Colonelle

Still from Maman Colonelle.

It was announced this week that the feature length film, Maman Colonelle, directed by Congolese man Dieudo Hamadi, has won the award. It is presented annually by the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC) and SIGNIS, the World Catholic Association for Communication, to a documentary that sheds light on a question of human rights reflecting the values and priorities of the two organisations.

The film, which has already won numeorus other awards, follows a police officer, Honorine Munyole - responsible for a small special unit for the protection of women and children in Bukavu, eastern Congo, as she is transferred to Kisangani (the director's home city) where she has to again gain the respect of the locals as well as authorities.

Marianne Ejdersten, WCC director of communication and vice president of WACC, said the film and others like it were "vitally important" in a world facing violence, racism and nationalism.

“WACC and SIGNIS believe this documentary offers a very human perspective on the horror of conflict situations that impact the lives of ordinary people, especially women,” she said. “Its human rights perspective is exemplary.”

Last year, the Human Rights Award was given to Cahier Africain, a documentary highlighting the fate of the women and their children in the Central African Republic which was directed by Heid Specogna.