Barbara Hendricks highlights refugee issues at Hague concert

News Stories, 26 May 2008

© UNHCR/G.Van Moortel
UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Barbara Hendricks sings for refugees at The Hague Jazz.

THE HAGUE, Netherlands, May 26 (UNHCR) UNHCR Honorary Lifetime Goodwill Ambassador Barbara Hendricks put the spotlight on refugee issues when she gave a concert at an annual jazz festival in The Hague.

Playing last Friday to an enthusiastic audience of 3,000 people, the acclaimed Swedish-American soprano said she was performing "on behalf of the refugees." Hendricks also thanked the Dutch people and the organizers of the two-day festival for their solidarity.

The Hague Jazz and UNHCR have joined forces to promote understanding and support in the Netherlands for refugees worldwide. The Hague Jazz has promised to make a donation to the refugee agency from this year's event, which attracted 24,000 people.

Hendricks dedicated "Strange Fruit," a song about racism in the United States that was immortalized by the late great jazz singer Billy Holiday, to refugees. "I sing this song for them," she told the crowd.

The Netherlands is not only one of UNHCR's most important donors both from the government and private sectors but it is also one of less than 20 countries in the world that accepts refugees for resettlement. The Netherlands also plays a key role in the development of the asylum and migration policy of the European Union.

Hendricks has been a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador since 1987 and has travelled the globe and spoken to world leaders to raise awareness about refugee issues.

By Gilles van Moortel in The Hague, Netherlands