Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett told the U.N. Security Council on Aug. 28 that nothing prepared her for “the extent and depth of suffering” she saw when she visited camps in Bangladesh for Rohingya Muslim refugees who fled a violent crackdown by Myanmar’s military.
In her very different role as a goodwill ambassador for the U.N. refugee agency, Blanchett said she heard “gut-wrenching accounts” of torture, rape, people seeing loved ones killed before their eyes, and children thrown into fire and burned alive.
“I am a mother, and I saw my children in the eyes of every single refugee child I met,” she said. “I saw myself in every parent. How can any mother endure seeing her child thrown into a fire?”
The two-time Academy Award winner said: “Their experiences will never leave me.”
Blanchett, who visited refugee camps in Bangladesh in March, recounted stories that were told to her and said it was important to recall that last year wasn’t the first attack on the Rohingya.
She urged support for the refugees and Bangladeshi host communities, and she implored the Security Council to help the Rohingya return with “a clear pathway to full citizenship.”
“We have failed the Rohingya before,” Blanchett said. “Please, let us not fail them again.” (AP)