Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett gave a heart-wrenching monologue this week, as she opened up about the “extent and depth of suffering” she has witnessed in Bangladesh. The Australian star visited the United Nations on Tuesday, where she implored the Security Council to come to the aid of Rohingya Muslims, who have fled their native Myanmar for refugee camps.
More than 700,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since August 2017, according to the BBC, after facing persecution and violence. The situation has been described as one of the fastest-growing refugee crises of our time, with reports of human rights violations including murder and arson carried out in Myanmar. A new UN report has called for the nation’s top military generals to be investigated and prosecuted for war crimes, a year after the atrocities began.
“I am a mother, and I saw my own children in the eyes of every single refugee child that I met,” Blanchett, who visited Bangladesh in March, told the UN. “How can any mother endure seeing her child thrown into a fire? Their experiences will never leave me.” The actress also paid tribute to Bangladesh for sheltering displaced Rohingya, questioning: “If people with so little can step up, why can’t we do it better?”
In her impassioned speech, Blanchett – who is a goodwill ambassador for the UN refugee agency – called for international aid for the refugees. “We have failed the Rohingya before,” she urged. “Please let us not fail them again.” As well as water, food, and supplies, the star called for full citizenship rights for the Rohingya, to ensure people had access to education, healthcare, and safety. Blanchett is not the first global star to visit Bangladesh in recent months; Gigi Hadid traveled to Cox’s Bazaar’s Jamtoli Refugee Camp earlier this month, as part of her work as a UNICEF ambassador.