Ben Stiller: We need positivity, goodwill toward refugees
Actor-comedian Ben Stiller, a newly named goodwill ambassador for UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), says a lot more needs to be done to stand in solidarity with, protect and support refugees in the "current climate".
As Hollywood fights to end family separation at the US border, Stiller took a trip to Guatemala from his "safe, comfortable home in New York". He wrote about it in a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter.
Stiller travelled with UNHCR over the past few years, visiting refugees in Germany and Jordan and meeting individuals caught up in the global refugee crisis firsthand. Then he was invited to become an official Goodwill Ambassador.
"While honoured to be asked to take on such a role, if I was being honest with myself, I was not quite sure what it actually meant. Yes, right now, we desperately need positivity and goodwill toward refugees, especially in our current climate.
"But what would being a Goodwill Ambassador actually mean and how could I make a meaningful difference in a world where there are so many seemingly insurmountable forces affecting millions? I said 'yes' to the role, quietly promising myself I would figure it out on the job," Stiller wrote.
His trip to Guatemala earlier in July led him to meet men, women and children who have fled their homes, who were on the move, literally running for their lives.
"Spending time with them, it was impossible not to feel connected as fellow humans. We laughed, ate and talked about raising children and the love of our families. As they relayed their stories, I was repeatedly reminded that refugees live in a world that shows them little goodwill.
"That what they need more than anything is to be given a voice. To be supported and heard -- especially the refugees from this region of the world," he added.
He heard many harrowing tales, deducing that refugees in Central America are part of an invisible, misunderstood, ignored, under-funded and worsening crisis.
Stiller left Guatemala "believing we all need to do more to stand in solidarity with refugees like those I met, to protect them and support them", he said in The Hollywood Reporter.
He has urged fellow members of the entertainment community to join him in supporting the cause.