The day after his sell-out show in Beiteddine, satirist Dr. Bassem Youssef joined UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, in Lebanon on his first field visit as part of his support of UNHCR’s #WithRefugees campaign. The campaign calls on world leaders to act in solidarity and take shared responsibility in their response to the global refugee crisis ahead a historic and special Summit on Refugees and Migrants that will take place on 19 September as part of the UN General Assembly in New York.
Dr. Youssef supported the launch of the #WithRefugees campaign petition on World Refugee Day in June. He featured in a film urging people to sign the #WithRefugees petition alongside refugees and fellow UNHCR high profile supporters such as Scarlet Johannson, Ben Stiller, Cate Blanchett, Neshan, and Mika.
In his desire to learn more about UNHCR’s frontline work, he travelled to northern Lebanon to meet with Syrian refugees and Lebanese communities affected by the conflict in Syria. He witnessed firsthand the difficult conditions Syrian refugees in Lebanon are living through when he visited an informal settlement in Kfarkahel and an abandoned shopping mall in Deddeh that has become one of the largest collective shelters for Syrian refugees in Lebanon. He also visited a UNHCR Community Development Center in Akkar where he met with Lebanese and Syrian refugee youth who design activities for both communities in their area.
Dr. Youssef said, “Today was an eye-opening experience. Everywhere in the media you hear about huge numbers of refugees around the world, over 60 million forcibly displaced from their homes, and sadly an increasingly negative rhetoric. I met some of the faces behind those numbers today and was humbled by their resilience and strong desire to return home. There has never been a more important time to stand with refugees and that’s why I urge everyone to sign the #WithRefugees petition.”
“I was amazed by the passion and hard work of Lebanese and Syrian youth who work hand in hand to organise different social activities that bring both communities closer together,” he added.
Lebanon currently hosts some 1.033 million Syrian refugees, making it the country that hosts the largest per capita number of refugees in the world.
The Head of the UNHCR Office in North Lebanon, Monica Noro, welcomed Dr. Youssef’s visit in Lebanon. “We appreciate Dr. Youssef visiting UNHCR’s operation here in the North and highlighting the work of UNHCR in helping to give voice to the refugees, but also in acknowledging the generosity of the Lebanese Government and people. Together, we are all standing #WithRefugees and we are delighted that Bassem is standing with us and urging his supporters to do the same.”
Source: National News Agency