Actor Cate Blanchett, a goodwill ambassador for the U.N.’s refugee agency UNHCR, on Wednesday urged the European Union to step up support of refugees and host countries and ensure the bloc’s policy “focus on their protection and not on fortifying borders”.
“You have to understand that no one puts their children in a boat unless water is safer than the land,” Oscar winner Blanchett, appointed a UNHCR goodwill ambassador in 2016, told the EU parliament in Brussels.
“I thank the EU for its longstanding financial support for refugees and their hosts globally and urge continued and increased support. The world is watching,” added Blanchett.
Blanchett’s plea comes as the European Union is seeking to overhaul the bloc’s asylum and migration rules to reduce irregular migration and member countries are attempting to cut their own deals, with Italy announcing on Monday it would build centres in Albania to host sea migrants trying to come to Italy.
A record 114 million people have been driven from their homes around the world, Blanchett said, escaping violence, conflict, persecution and human rights violation.
“With a number of possibly displaced people at an all time high, flexible humanitarian funding has never been more urgent,” she said. “Invest in education and livelihoods to ensure families have opportunities where they are so they don’t need to move. No one will benefit from a generation of alienated and excluded youth.”