Carey Mulligan says she is 'ashamed to be British' over UK inaction on the refugee crisis

The Oscar-winning actress, an ambassador for the charity War Child, was speaking in New York on the eve of a United Nations summit on migrants and refugees

Tim Walker
Monday 19 September 2016 18:07 BST
Carey Mulligan speaks at War Child event ahead of UN refugee summit

Carey Mulligan has said the UK’s “inaction” in response to the refugee crisis on the country’s doorstep has made her “ashamed to be British”.

Speaking to the Telegraph in New York on the eve of a United Nations summit for refugees and migrants, the Oscar-nominated actress said there was “literally no excuse for what’s going on [in Calais],” calling the sitation “shameful”.

An ambassador for the charity War Child, Ms Mulligan planned to attend the summit on Monday at the UN’s Manhattan headquarters, as part of the UN General Assembly. Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to be among the world leaders in attendance.

“I’m very proud to be British, and think we do great things, and it is worth remembering that we are one of the biggest donor countries,” said Ms Mulligan, 31. “But because of our inaction when it comes to 600 unaccompanied minors in Calais, it makes me ashamed to be British.”

The actress has visited the Democratic Republic of Congo and Jordan with War Child since becoming involved with the charity three years ago, through her bother Owain, who had served with the British Army in Afghanistan and worked with the charity to reopen a girls’ school there.

Today there are some 65.3 million refugees worldwide: a number greater than the population of the UK, and sufficient to field a Refugee Olympic Team in Rio this summer. On Tuesday, US President Barack Obama will host a leaders’ summit to urge further action on the issue.

War Child UK, which is devoted to protecting children affected by conflict, said in a statement that it was "calling on world leaders to urgently develop a Global Action Plan for children forced to flee, to deal with the rising number of displaced children and make sure the same rights apply to them wherever they are, and to deal with the chronic underfunding for displaced children."

Ms Mulligan, the mother of a one-year-old daughter, is particularly troubled by the plight of the children who make up half the world’s refugees. Her suggestions to ameliorate the situation in Calais included, she said, “For applications not to languish for months and months and months for children who have the right to be in the UK, reunited with family members… or for vulnerable children to be immediately reunited with their families and taken care of.”

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