Tuesday 27 September 2016

Game of Thrones stars urge EU leaders to help Syrian refugees

Published 02/07/2016 | 11:06

Game of Thrones cast members Liam Cunningham, Maisie Williams and Lena Headey visiting IRC programmes at Diavata refugee site in northern Greece
Game of Thrones cast members Liam Cunningham, Maisie Williams and Lena Headey visiting IRC programmes at Diavata refugee site in northern Greece
Lena Headey has spoken about the plight of Syrian refugees stranded in Greece

Game of Thrones stars Lena Headey, Maisie Williams and Liam Cunningham have called on EU leaders to do more to help Syrian refugees as they visited people stranded in Greece.

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The actors visited refugee programmes just days after the show's dramatic series six finale and called for the EU to reconsider its March agreement with Turkey which forces migrants to apply for asylum in the "safe third country" before they are allowed to travel to the EU.

Headey, who plays Cersei Lannister, Williams, who plays Arya Stark, and Cunningham, who plays Davos Seaworth, toured International Rescue Committee (IRC) camps and met some of the 57,000 refugees affected by the deal.

Headey, who spoke to a young Syrian woman alone in Lesbos with three children, said: "These smart, hard-working people want to go home. They want to return to their communities and to their neighbourhoods.

"They want their children to continue their education. They want to continue their university and they are stuck. They're stuck. And they're unbelievably sad, understandably. We can do better for them. We must do better for them."

Williams met a young aspiring Syrian actor at Cherso in northern Greece, where she said: "For me it is about the children ... children with so much potential, so many hopes and dreams. Where is the humanity that makes it acceptable for them to languish in refugee camps - in Europe?"

Cunningham heard about the fear felt by Afghan and Syrian fathers and said: " This is not an earthquake, this is not a tidal wave. This is a man-made crisis - 57,000 stranded in Greece. Refugee camps in Europe? Is this truly the standard EU leaders want to set as the way to respond to the global refugee crisis?"

The trio also appeared in a video on the IRC's Twitter page, in which Cunningham spoke about the "beautiful people" they had met on their trip.

Williams added: "We now feel like it is our responsibility to take their stories and change the perception of these people."

Headey said the visit had been "life changing" and promised it would not be the last the public hears from them on the subject.

Panos Navrozidis, country director of IRC Greece, said: "The truth about this crisis is that there are options for the family members Lena, Maisie and Liam met in Greece. There is no reason why 57,000 people should be forced to put their lives on hold."

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