Global celebrities join campaign calling on governments to take action for refugees

Video message released today in lead-up to World Refugee Day. Video can be viewed here:
https://youtu.be/Jtv4LCXEGEU

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, today launched a major campaign that asks the world to stand together #WithRefugees. In a stunning video message more than 60 global celebrities join with refugees and aid workers to echo the message, "we stand with refugees, please stand with us." The petition appeals for government action on behalf of the world's forcibly displaced. 

The campaign aims to demonstrate public support for families forced to flee against a backdrop of dramatically increased displacement from conflict and persecution on the one hand, and heightened anti-refugee rhetoric and greater restrictions to asylum on the other. The petition will be delivered in advance of September’s historic UN High-Level Plenary of the General Assembly on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants.

Specifically, the petition asks all governments to make sure:

  • Every refugee child has an education.
  • Every refugee family has somewhere safe to live.
  • Every refugee can work or learn skills to make a positive contribution to their community.

UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Cate Blanchett, who appears in the video from Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, spoke about her support for the campaign:

"We are in the middle of a catastrophic displacement crisis that has already uprooted millions of innocent families, and seen too many lose their lives trying to reach safety. The ultimate solution is political – we need peace and stability. But whilst we wait for that, we – as people with a voice – can and must play our part. We must demand that all countries take a shared responsibility for ensuring refugees have protection, shelter and the chance to live a productive life. If enough of us stand together, we will be heard."            

Fellow UNHCR Goodwill Ambassadors joining Blanchett in the video include author Khaled Hosseini and supermodel and former refugee Alek Wek. Others lending support include UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and faith leaders Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Venerable V.Vajiramedhi and actors Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Margot Robbie, Ben Stiller, Dame Helen Mirren as well as singers Juanes, Mika, Maher Zain and Babaa Maal. 

"Refugees are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, with the same hopes and ambitions as us – except that a twist of fate has bound their lives to a global refugee crisis on an unprecedented scale," said Khaled Hosseini. “Together, in solidarity with refugees, we must demand that world leaders take collective responsibility for finding fair, lasting solutions to this crisis. Together, we must ensure humanity and compassion triumph over fear and intolerance.”

The number of people forced to flee their homes by conflict and persecution is now at its highest since the end of the Second World War. UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi spoke about why UNHCR was making such a public call to support refugees.

‘’We are in a period of deepening conflict and turmoil in the world, which is causing many more people to flee their homes than before,” said Grandi. “It affects and involves us all, and what it needs is understanding, compassion and political will to come together and find real answers for the refugee plight. This has become a defining challenge of our times.

“In 2015, millions of people were newly displaced, adding again to the global refugee and internal displacement totals. Overwhelmingly, it was countries of the developing world that were most affected, but Europe too witnessed dramatic scenes, as hundreds of thousands of people crossed the Mediterranean in search of safety and refuge. Thousands died along the way. 

“At the same time, there was an extraordinary outpouring of empathy and solidarity, as ordinary people and communities opened their homes and their hearts to refugees, and some countries have welcomed new arrivals even while already hosting large numbers of refugees.

“The #WithRefugees campaign and petition aims to amplify those voices of welcome and show that the world stands with refugees.” 

The campaign seeks to mobilize massive audiences, creating the largest-ever petition to support refugee cause. The petition can be signed at http://rfg.ee/z2bA301bNOn

None of the contributors to the video are available for interview.

 

Notes to editors

The video is also available in the following languages: 

Spanish: https://youtu.be/TUUsTSe7dnY

Arabic: https://youtu.be/DiAc3KQgxXw 

French: https://youtu.be/6MybfrYkqzk



Images of UNHCR Goodwill Ambassadors Cate Blanchett and Khaled Hosseini available here: http://media.unhcr.org/Share/kwun1u332tp2xd1px067gg10ttth3570.

All photos: © UNHCR/Jordi Matas

 

For more information on the #WithRefugees Campaign 

In Geneva: Stephen Pattison. Tel: +41 (0)22 739 8275 [email protected] 

In London: Leona Everitt. Tel: +44 (0)7966 134226 [email protected] 

 

About the #WithRefugees Campaign

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency works for a world where every person forced to flee can be protected and build a better future. On World Refugee Day, held every year on June 20th, UNHCR commemorates the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees. This year, World Refugee Day is a key moment for everyone to show their support for families forced to flee. By signing the #WithRefugees petition, people from across the globe can call on governments to work together and do their fair share for refugees.

 

Full list of high profile contributors to the video and petition.

CONTRIBUTOR & SIGNEES

CONTRIBUTOR TITLE

Patrick Stewart

Actor

Jung Woo-sung  

Actor & UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador

Douglas Booth

Actor

Cate Blanchett

Actor & UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador

Benedict Cumberbatch

Actor

Maher Zain 

Musician 

Mika 

Musician 

Alek Wek 

Model & UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador 

Alessandro Gassman 

Actor 

Muzoon Almellehan 

Syrian refugee & advocate for education 

Juanes   

Musician 

Natalia Lafourcade

Musician 

David Morrissey 

Actor 

John Green 

Writer 

Rebecca Hall 

Actor 

Morgan Spector 

Actor 

Venerable V. Vajiramedhi 

Faith leader 

Will Ferrell 

 Actor

Alan Cumming

Actor 

Kristin Davis 

Actor 

Jillian Michaels 

TV personality 

Khaled Hosseini   

Writer & UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador 

Barbara Hendricks    

Classical Singer & UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador 

Baaba Maal 

Musician 

Fally Ipupa 

Musician 

Helen Mirren 

Actor 

John Abraham 

Actor & Goodwill Ambassador 

Neil Gaiman 

Writer 

Amanda Palmer 

Musician 

Ash 

 

Dianna Agron 

Actor 

Gavin Rossdale 

Musician 

Ben Stiller 

Actor 

Bassem Youssef 

Satirist 

Neshan Der Haroutiounian 

TV presenter 

Elena Anaya 

Actor 

Jesús Vásquez 

TV presenter & UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador

Carlos Vives 

Musician 

Cecilia Suárez 

Musician 

Chiwetel Ejiofor

Actor 

Simon Pegg

Actor 

Margot Robbie 

Actor 

Bryan Adams

Musician

Rokia Taroré

Musician & UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador

Scarlett Johansson

Actor

Anoushka Shankar

Musician

Georgina Chapman

Fashion Designer

Fatima Bhutto

Poet/Writer

Bruna Marquezine

Model/Actor

Theo James

Actor 

Dan Reynolds 

 Musician (Imagine Dragons)

Melitina Staniouta 

Gymnast 

Rubén Albarrán 

Musician 

Alberto Lati 

Writer 

Osvaldo Laport 

Actor & UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador

Jose Moreno Brooks

Actor

Katarzyna Bonda

Writer

Krystyna Czubowna

Journalist

Tomasz Kammel 

TV presenter 

Lang Lang 

Musician 

Mark Haddon 

Writer 

Sami Yusuf 

Musician 

The National Parks 

Musicians 

Gillian Slovo 

Writer 

Kamila Shamsie 

Writer 

Amanda Palmer 

Musician 

Steve Coogan 

Actor 

Chris Cleave 

Writer 

Emi Mahmoud 

Slam Poet 

Emma Ferrer 

Model 

Carey Mulligan 

Actor & War Child Ambassador 

Aaron Taylor-Johnson 

Actor 

Abbey Lee Kershaw 

Actor/Model 

Stanley Tucci 

Actor 

Sam Taylor-Johnson 

Artist/Director 

Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu 

Faith Leader 

Ban Ki-moon 

UN Secretary General 

Filippo Grandi 

UN High Commissioner for Refugees 

Demian Bichir 

Actor 

Alfonso Herrera 

Actor 

 

 

Not Featured in the film but signees

to the petition

 

David Nicholls  

Writer  

Jeremy Thomas

Film producer

Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) 

Musician 

Eugenio Derbez 

Actor 

Adrian Lester 

Actor 

Richard Curtis 

Producer/Director 

Mark Rylance 

Actor