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Cate Blanchett Calls For More Compassion Amid Refugee Crisis

"Once you have born witness you cannot turn away"

Actress and UNHCR Goodwill ambassador Cate Blanchett has called out the lack of compassion world leaders have displayed in addressing the refugee crisis.

Appearing at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland on Tuesday, Blanchett pleaded for refugees to be treated as human beings instead of an “economic burden” or “terrorist threat,” Deadline reports.   

“Nowhere is the fractured world more humanly embodied than in the refugee – a person uprooted from all they hold dear, forced to flee, often resented and reviled in the country where they settle, labelled as an economic burden or terrorist threat. And this is the narrative that we truly need to disrupt,” she said while accepting a Crystal Award at the event.”

“It’s very easy to turn our backs on the abstraction of the enormous numbers of those in need, on ‘the others.’ But standing face to face with one human being, staring them in the eye, hearing their story, experiencing our common humanity, it’s much harder to do nothing. Once you have born witness you cannot turn away.”

According to the UNHCR, the displacement of people is at an all-time high; 65 million people around the world have been forced from their homes, including nearly 22.5 million refugees.

During the summit in Davos, Blanchett also took the opportunity to share her thoughts on America’s First Lady Melania Trump—and how she’d approach her character for a hypothetical film role. 

“If I was playing Melania Trump – not that I would probably be cast in that role – I wouldn’t be necessarily coming from the place of ‘Free Melania’,” Blanchett joked.

“I’d be trying to understand the situation so that you could then throw that back at an audience and say: ‘What’s her position as a woman? What does she think? What’s it like being married to – you know’.”

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