Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.
Torture, enslavement, political prison camps and executions. A new U.N. report says these are just some of the atrocities that North Korea is committing against its own people. The report outlined a litany of widespread, systemic abuses, and recommended that North Korea's leaders face international prosecution.
Atika Shubert spoke to T. Kumar, the Advocacy Director of Amnesty International USA. She asked whether conditions within North Korea had deteriorated under the relatively new regime of Kim Jong Un.
"There is no way the situation can get worse in North Korea. It has reached the rock bottom," Kumar said. "We have seen public executions, and using food in a selective manner against political opponents, where people have died because of starvation."
Atika asked whether this kind of pressure from the international community could have any effect within the country.
"These are leaders who will be nervous that they are going to be cornered," Kumar said. "One day – it could be tomorrow, it could be four years from tomorrow – they may be held accountable, so they may change and they may treat their people well."
As '12 Years a Slave' took top honors at the BAFTA Awards, all eyes were on the film's black cast – and especially director Steve McQueen. If he wins the Best Director prize at next month's Academy Awards, McQueen will become the first black director ever to win.
Atika Shubert spoke with John Akomfrah, a Former Governor of the British Film Institute. She asked him what McQueen's BAFTA win meant for diversity in the film industry.
"I think Steve winning is confirmation of a trend taking place anyway," Akomfrah said. "And by that I mean, for instance, 12 years ago, if you had a film called '12 Years a Slave,' the idea would be that it would go to a white director because it's big and so it's appropriate that it should go to a white director. The fact that a major African diaspora story is done by a black director of black British heritage and descent is, I think, significant."
Atika also asked what Akomfrah would consider to be a true sign of diversity in cinema.
"If Steve's example became a trend, so that there were more people like Steve," he replied. "If a range of black acting talent continues to be both affirmed and endorsed by both BAFTA and the Academy."