Cate Blanchett Makes an Impassioned Plea to the UN on Behalf of Rohingya Refugees

"There are no shortcuts. There are no alternatives. We have failed the Rohingya before. Please, let us not fail them again."

Last August, we all watched in horror as our TV screens and Twitter feeds began to overflow with images and videos of a violent ethnic cleansing underway in Myanmar. Since then, more than 700,000 men, women and children belonging to the minority Rohingya community of Muslims have been forced to flee their homes in search of safety, most seeking refuge in neighbouring Bangladesh. We shared articles, we donated money, we tweeted our outrage. And then as with all things, we moved on—to newer grievances and fresher injustices, driven on by the relentless push of the news cycle.

But the crisis rages on, and no one has yet been held accountable. A new UN Human Rights Council report released Monday concluded that Myanmar troops have “committed what amounts to war crimes and crimes against humanity.” The human rights violations noted in the report include “killing indiscriminately, gang-raping women, assaulting children, and burning entire villages.”

As a UN Refugee Agency goodwill ambassador, Cate Blanchett visited some of Bangladesh’s Rohingya refugee camps in March, and yesterday she gave an impassioned speech to the UN Security Council in New York, urging them—as well as “governments, development and humanitarian agencies, the private sector and individuals”—to take action.

“Bangladesh’s recent response, receiving over 700,000 refugees in a matter of months and providing them safety is one of the most visible and significant gestures of humanity in our time,” she said. “But the needs are vast. The suffering is acute. Much more international support is needed.”

Considering that this is the fastest-growing refugee crisis of our time, there is much to be done, and Blanchett urged the UN to help find solutions for the thousands displaced, who are uncertain of what their futures hold.

“There are no shortcuts. There are no alternatives. We have failed the Rohingya before. Please, let us not fail them again.”

Watch her full speech below: