David Morrissey has said “challenging the narrative” is important when it comes to how people in the UK view the refugee crisis.
The 58-year-old actor, who has been a UN Goodwill Ambassador since 2017, recently returned from Pakistan where he visited Afghan refugees with the UNHCR – the UN Refugee Agency.
Speaking to the PA news agency about how refugees are viewed by some people in the UK, Morrissey said: “You can look at the narrative that sometimes is given to you around refugees and the refugee crisis and the people who are arriving here.
“Narratives like ‘safe passage’ when people talk about how we will be welcoming to refugees who have taken the appropriate and legal routes…
“When you’re being faced with either a crisis of conflict, or a crisis of climate change, the legal and recommended bureaucracy that one has to go through in order to start that journey is so mind numbing and so crippling, that many [refugees] are not going to take that option.
“I don’t think many people [in the UK], if they were faced with that bureaucratic argument, would go for it either, so challenging narrative is important.”
He went on to describe the number of refugees fleeing their homes to seek safety elsewhere as an “unprecedented crisis”.
During a three-day trip to Quetta, a city in northern Balochistan near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, Morrissey met with a number of female Afghan refugees, some of which are studying at university thanks to a UNHCR scholarship programme and others who are learning vocational skills to help establish a means of earning a living.
The Bafta-nominated actor also visited people who were badly affected by flooding in the country earlier this year and are still dealing with the aftermath.
Reflecting on how catastrophic events are reported on in the media, Morrissey told PA: “We’re living in a very busy news world, aren’t we?
“And it’s always been the case that the initial catastrophe, or the initial incident is always getting front page coverage, and then, in the aftermath of that it will all peter out and something new will come up…
“And of course, our eyes are turned to very important issues: Ukraine, the cost-of-living crisis here in the UK, as well as all over the world.
“This is not to diminish what’s going on and where our eyes are, and our sensibilities are, I just think there is also a need and a desire by myself to say, look, these are obviously massive things that we need to focus on, but that thing we focused on six months ago, that’s not gone away, that is still here.”
Morrissey went on to explain: “It’s to do with what is our response to something which is a global crisis.
“It’s not a local crisis, it’s not a national crisis. It’s a global crisis, both in climate change and the refugee crisis… So it’s our own responsibility to look at this and see how we, as a nation, and individuals, respond to it.
“We are in this thing, which is sort of lifeboat Earth really. We’re not separate to these crises they are ours together.”