To mark World Refugee Day over the weekend, 20 June 2020, UNHCR's Goodwill Ambassadors and high profile supporters from across the globe used their platforms to bring attention to the many refugees contributing on the frontlines of the response to Covid 19 and calling for action and solidarity #withrefugees in the time of this global pandemic.
Through a series of animations, films, poetry and live events across the globe this week, well-known actors, sports people, musicians, writers and other high profile supporters of UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, are reaching out to their supporters and the public, calling for everyone to play their part in the global fight against the virus. Their message this year is clear: Everyone can make a difference. Every action counts.
Today, Ambassadors and supporters are helping launch UNHCR’s powerful new World Refugee film called ‘Refugees in the time of Covid’ The film celebrates the inspiring and resilient refugees on the frontlines of the response to Covid 19, highlighting the refugee doctors, soap-makers, educators and delivery people who are working to prevent the spread of the virus, as well as the host communities and aid workers who are supporting them.
UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Nomzamo Mbatha who voiced over the film said, “This year we are marking World Refugee Day in the time of Covid 19. It is more vital than ever that we stand together with refugees and show how refugees are coping and contributing in the fight against this virus. I am joining UNHCR in sharing the stories of those remarkable refugees who, having fled war and conflict are now themselves working on the frontlines of fighting this pandemic. We must celebrate them as well as their incredible hosts and the aid workers supporting them. Everyone can make a difference. Everyone counts.”
Earlier this week, some of UNHCR’s supporters, including Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michelle Monaghan, Nomzamo Mbatha, Kristin Davis}, Kat Graham and writer Neil Gaiman marked World Refugee Day by reconnecting via zoom with refugees and frontline humanitarian workers they have met previously on field visits with UNHCR. The discussions have been edited into short films which they have been sharing over the course of this week on social media, enabling viewers to better understand how refugees are coping and contributing in the fight against COVID 19.
After the release of UNHCR’s flagship annual ‘Global Trends’ report yesterday, Deputy High Commissioner for UNHCR Kelly Clements, said: “With new data revealing that 1 percent of humanity – nearly 80 million people – is now forcibly displaced and with COVID 19 posing serious threats to them and the communities that host them, it’s wonderful to see a diverse community of UNHCR supporters marking World Refugee Day this year. They are shining a light on some of the most vulnerable amongst us and celebrating the many refugees who are contributing on the frontlines of the response to the pandemic. Every action counts.”
Across the globe, UNHCR Ambassadors and high profile supporters are involved with sharing bespoke social content as well as participating in live online events*(see notes to editors) to raise awareness and funds for UNHCR’s work to support and protect refugees against the virus. Among those involved: 2Baba, Alan Cumming, Alex Song, Alphonso Davies, Alphonso Herrera, Asmir Begovic, Atom Araullo, Barbara Hendricks, Ben Stiller, Betty G, Cate Blanchett, Danny Ocean, David Morrissey, Douglas Booth, Emi Mahmoud, Gian Marco, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Hanna Gabriel, Helena Christensen, Iskui Abaylan, John Abraham, Juanes, Jung Woo-Sung, Kat Graham, Khaled Hosseini, Kristin Davis, Leanne Manas, Manizha Sangin, Maya Ghazal, Mahira Khan, Mercy Masika, Michelle Monaghan, Miyavi, Nadine Labaki, Neil Gaiman, Nomzamo Mbatha, Praya Lundberg, Pur Biel, Raya Abirached, Stanley Tucci, Tanya Burr and Yusra Mardini.
UNHCR High Profile supporter and Canadian football sensation Alphonso Davies said, “I am so thankful for my journey from refugee to professional footballer. Refugees everywhere deserve the chance to pursue their dreams. That’s why I support UNHCR’s incredible work around the world to help refugees to not only survive but to thrive – and especially now with the additional threat of COVID-19. Every action counts in the fight against this virus.”
Renowned author of the Kite Runner and UN Refugee Agency Goodwill Ambassador Khaled Hosseini commented, “It is World Refugee Day on 20 June. It’s a moment for me to remember the incredible refugees I’ve met throughout my life and on visits to Uganda, Chad, Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Italy with UNHCR. Right now I am more worried than ever about them. Living in cramped conditions, social distancing is almost impossible and maintaining good hygiene is challenging. Everyone has the right to be protected from COVID-19 and get the healthcare they need. Whoever they are, wherever they are. UNHCR staff are ‘staying and delivering’ essentials like soap and safe water. They can’t do this alone. Everyone counts in the fight against this virus.”