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Douglas Booth

Iraq. UNHCR Supporter Douglas Booth in Hasansham IDP camp for Iraqis fleeing Mosul

About Douglas

British actor Douglas Booth has been supporting UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, since 2015.

Douglas has highlighted the work of UNHCR in extensive media interviews and consistently helps shine a spotlight on the global refugee crisis via his social media channels. Douglas has supported key UNHCR fundraising events and campaigns including World Refugee Day, the #iBelong campaign to end statelessness, and the Nansen Refugee Award and has featured in several film projects including 'Words Matter' and 'What They Took With Them'.

In 2018, Douglas spoke on behalf of UNHCR at the OneYoungWorld Summit on the important role young people can play in advocating on refugee issues. Ahead of the first ever Global Refugee Forum Douglas highlighted the positive story of refugee activist, trainee pilot and UNHCR Supporter Maya Ghazal who is determined to the first female Syrian refugee pilot.

Field visits

2018 visit to Italy and Greece

For World Refugee Day 2018, Douglas travelled to Sicily, Italy, with UNHCR to meet with survivors of the treacherous Mediterranean Sea crossing as well as families resettled through safe and legal pathways. Whilst there, he sat on the judging panel of an uplifting and inspiring refugee talent competition held in Catania’s main square. Previously, Douglas had travelled with UNHCR to the Greek island of Lesvos to meet refugees who made the perilous journey across the Aegean to seek safety in Europe.

Reflecting on his time in Lesvos, Douglas said:

“There seems to be so much confusion amongst us about the difference between economic migrants, asylum seekers and refugees. Populist views would have us believe that boat-loads of people are invading Europe with the sole purpose of taking our jobs, exploiting our welfare systems, and making money. I’m concerned that it’s an opinion born out of misunderstanding and fear-mongering and it isn’t a fair reflection of the reality.

The fact is that the vast majority of people crossing the Mediterranean and Aegean are escaping persecution and conflict. They are refugees. The people I met on the island of Lesvos – who had arrived on overcrowded, barely sea-worthy boats only a few hours before - had no option but to flee their homes. It wasn’t a choice for them – stay and likely die, or leave behind everything they have ever known and loved in order to survive.

No one chooses to be a refugee. No one hopes for conflict to find them, for friends and family to die, for their home to be destroyed, their education and plans for their future to be interrupted so brutally. No one wants to flee their country, scrabble together enough money from their life savings, selling possessions, borrowing from anywhere they can, to pay unscrupulous smugglers to abuse and exploit them and send them across troubled waters where thousands before them have drowned making the very same high risk journey.

The people I met have endured terrible suffering, loss, heartbreak and fear. They look to Europe for protection. They look to Europe for safety. Yet they are too often met by prejudice, ill-will, hostility, intolerance and anger. I urge people to take some time – even just 5 minutes – to look beyond the headlines and get to know one of the millions of people around the world who have been forced to flee their home. Read or watch a short film of a refugee story here, talk to a refugee in your community. Take time to understand where these people – people just like you and me - have come from, the horrors they have escaped, the journey they have undertaken, the life they have to rebuild from scratch, the hopes they have for the future. I know, like me, you will recognize yourself and your family in them, and understand that refugees are not ‘other’ – they are ordinary people going through an extraordinary hardship.”

2016 visit to Iraq

In 2016, Douglas visited our frontline work in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. In newly built camps he met with Iraqi families who had recently been forced to flee Mosul. In Erbil, he met Syrian refugees and heard about the challenges of trying to survive and thrive in a new country having lost everything because of the conflict in Syria. Douglas posted photos and stories from his time in Iraq on Instagram, and also spoke about his experiences on various media and digital platforms, including the BBC.

He reflected on his experiences via the UNHCR Instagram account. See the images and captions from Douglas' posts: