“Many Bangladeshi villagers living nearby, with very little to call their own, have been helping the Rohingya refugees over the past year. If people with so little can step up, why can’t we do better?”
Today, Cate Blanchett sat before the United Nations Security Council and asked the world this very important question. There are currently hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who’ve fled horrific conditions in Myanmar only to find themselves living in desperate, squalid conditions in Bangladesh. Why aren’t we helping them? Why aren’t we doing more?
Cate spent some time in the refugee camps earlier this year. She describes how Laila’s story is one that has stayed with her – How Laila’s husband was forcibly taken from their village. How she hasn’t seen him since. How she had no choice but to flee her burning home with her baby son Yousuf. How she saw her uncle murdered by men with knives.
“If only such stories were atypical,” Cate says. “But visiting with refugee families in Bangladesh, I found that they were shockingly true.”
She continues to give heart-wrenching accounts of children being deliberately thrown into fires, people watching their loved ones being tortured and killed. Women, raped in Myanmar now giving birth to their babies in refugee camps. Cate admits that she is no expert on the humanitarian crisis but she is a witness to it.
“I am a mother,” Cate says, “and I saw my children in the eyes of every single refugee child I met. I saw myself in every parent.”
Cate closes her statement urging world leaders and governments to work together. To do more. “There are no shortcuts. There are no alternatives. We have failed Rohingya before. Please, let us not fail them again.”
You can watch Cate’s full statement below: