Nepal Hosts Migration Film Festival to Mark International Migrants Day 2017


Kathmandu – As part of IOM’s second annual Global Migration Film Festival, and to mark International Migrants Day 2017, the UN Migration Agency yesterday organized a screening in Kathmandu of the documentary ‘This is Not Paradise,’ written and directed by Gaia Vianello and Lisa Tormena.

The film tells the story of Nepali migrant domestic workers toiling under harsh conditions in Lebanon. An estimated 10,000 Nepalese are currently working for Lebanese employers, many of them in domestic work. According to a Nepali government report, over 4,000 work permits have been issued to Nepali women to work in Lebanon over the past seven years.

The Festival invited professional and emerging filmmakers from all over the world to submit films themed around ‘the promise and challenges of migration for those who leave their homes in search of a better life and the contributions they make to their new communities.’

Various Nepali film makers submitted their work and the Nepali documentary ‘In Search of the Riyal,’ directed by Kesang Tseten, was among the films selected. It looks at the experiences of Nepali migrants working in the Gulf to send money home to their families in Nepal.

Over half of all Nepali households now have at least one migrant family member currently abroad or living in Nepal as a returnee.  While migration can be a route to a better future, it is rarely an easy process.  

Nepali migrant workers often have to cope with problems including faulty contracts, inflated service charges, fraud, non-payment of wages, debt-bondage, trafficking and slavery, while in transit or in their country of destination.

The documentary screening was followed by a panel discussion on the challenges and opportunities of labour migration in Nepal with experts from the government, IOM, UN agencies, development partners and civil society organizations.  

Speaking as a panelist at the event, IOM Nepal Chief of Mission Paul Norton said: “The arts can sometimes speak louder than other forms of expression and reach wider audiences to promote migrants’ safety, dignity and human rights. Consequently, the films selected by IOM for its global migration film festival are meant to explore the untold realities and concerns of migrants around the world.”

“The first line of today’s film was: ‘Everything in the world will stop (in Lebanon) if all the migrant workers vanish.’ This might be said of most countries, given the key roles that migrant labour, students, tourists, professionals, family and other forms of migration play in contributing to healthy societies and economies around the world.  Migration does not only benefit the migrants themselves – it positively contributes to countries and societies in innumerable ways,” he added.

The Global Migration Film Festival is part of the UN’s ‘TOGETHER’ campaign, a global initiative that promotes respect, safety and dignity for everyone forced to flee their homes in search of a better life. The Kathmandu screening event was supported by Yeti Domestic Airlines. 

 For more information, please contact Paul I. Norton at IOM Nepal, Tel: +977 1 4426250, Email:

  • ‘This is Not Paradise’ is written and directed by Gaia Vianello and Lisa Tormena.