Oxfam joins Margot Robbie, John Cho and more to launch project in support of refugees

Campaigns and Advocacy, Humanitarian Advocacy, Media Releases, News article written on the 07 Dec 2016

Today Oxfam launches I Hear You, a project designed to amplify the personal stories of the world’s most vulnerable refugees with some of Hollywood’s leading voices.

The video series features Australian actress Margot Robbie, John Cho, Oliver Platt and others reading the real-life stories of refugees from around the world who have been forced from their homes as they flee conflict, disaster, poverty, inequality and the effects of climate change.

Oxfam Australia’s Humanitarian Policy Advisor Nicole Bieske said more than 65 million people around the world had been forced from their homes, the highest number since World War II.

“While the need to address the refugee crisis is at an all-time high, unfortunately so is anti-refugee rhetoric,” Dr Bieske said.

This is why Oxfam joined with the entertainment industry to launch the project.

I Hear You creator Julie Anne Robinson, a BAFTA and Golden Globe nominated theatre, TV and film director and producer, said she wanted to personalise the refugee crisis.

“I came up with the idea for this project because I wanted to find a way to communicate the human stories of displaced people,” Ms Robinson said.

“These are people we tend to fear and reject, but I found they are driven by the same things as all of us – love of their children and a desire to work.”

Australian actress Margot Robbie spoke of her involvement in the project on Twitter: “These are the words of a young Syrian woman who, aside from circumstance, is no different to you or I.”

Dr Bieske said Oxfam was pleased to join with Hollywood stars to shine a spotlight on the stories of millions of individuals who had endured unimaginable loss and hardship.

“These are not just numbers, these are people, with individual stories just like every one of us,” Dr Bieske said.

“Now is a time for solidarity and compassion, not a time to close our minds, our hearts, or our borders.”

Oxfam is asking Australians to visit the #IHearYou page to read more about the refugee crisis and learn what they can do to help.

Oxfam is working in more than 20 countries affected by the refugee crisis to help people who have fled their homes because of violence, conflict or persecution. Oxfam is providing food and clean water and building much-needed toilets to prevent the spread of disease, and making sure people have the information they need to stay safe and obtain access to legal aid.

At the same time, Oxfam is calling on the Australian Government to increase our refugee intake to 42,000 and close the camps on Manus Island and Nauru, and to increase aid to countries hosting large populations of people who have been forced to flee.

For interviews with Oxfam staff or more information, please contact Dylan Quinnell on 0450 668 350 or dylanq@oxfam.org.au

Notes to editors:

The I Hear You project features videos by Hollywood stars including Australian Margot Robbie, John Cho, Oliver Platt, Gael Garcia Bernal, Anna Camp, Minnie Driver, Al Madrigal, Melissa Leo, Erik Griffin, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Ari Graynor, Jordana Brewster, Yasmine Al Massri, and Andrea Riseborough.