WE ARE FAMILY’ FILM LAUNCHES AS TIME RUNS OUT FOR DECISION ON REFUGEE CHILDREN HOPING TO BE REUNITED WITH FAMILY IN UK

Unicef UK Ambassadors Eddie Izzard, Sir Chris Hoy, Martin Bell OBE and High Profile Supporter Olivia Colman lend support to campaign

LINK TO FILM: http://unicef.uk/familyreunited

Eddie Izzard, Olivia Colman, Sir Chris Hoy and Martin Bell OBE lend support to Unicef UK’s campaign calling on UK Government to recognise in its refugee law a child’s adult siblings, aunts, uncles and grandparents as ‘family’, when desperately fleeing war and disasters.

31st January 2018 – Unicef UK Ambassadors Eddie Izzard, Sir Chris Hoy, Martin Bell OBE and Unicef UK High Profile Supporter Olivia Colman have each lent their support to an emotional and provocative new film putting pressure on the UK Government to change the rules that allow refugee children to reunite with their close family already living in the UK.

The 60 second film, We Are Family, sees famous faces reflecting on their role as different family members (Eddie Izzard as a brother, Olivia Colman as a sister, Sir Chris Hoy as a brother and Martin Bell OBE as a grandfather) with personal reflections on what makes their family relationships so special.

I am not Olivia Colman. I am the joke that still annoys you every time, and the story that never fails to crack you up. I am sister.

I am not Eddie Izzard. I am the silly comebacks, the bad ideas and the shared wishes. I am brother.

I am not Chris Hoy. I am the school projects done with a little help, and the hugs, the excuses and the laughs every Christmas Day. I am brother.

I am not Martin Bell. I am the things you couldn’t learn from anyone else, and the mistakes you need to make for yourself. I am grandfather.

As the film draws to a close, each star comes to the same realisation that it is not the same for every family. This is because right now, refugee children are still forced to make the dangerous and often deadly journey to Europe in an attempt to reach the safety of their family in the UK. In 2017 alone, over 3,000 people died making this dangerous journey across the Mediterranean.[1]

With the system for family reunion offered under our membership of European Union likely to end, the UK Government are yet to fix the rules to help reunite refugee children with their close family in the UK, and in the coming months are set to decide on their approach to refugee rules – the only chance they have to make this simple and lifesaving change. The UK’s rules only currently give a right for children to be reunited with their parents in the UK. It is almost impossible for children to be reunited with their adult siblings, aunts, uncles and grandparents, even when this is their best hope of safety.

At a time when new plans for refugee rules are due to be set by the UK Government, these famous stars, alongside Unicef UK – the world’s leading children’s organisation – are aiming to ensure that now is the time this important fix is included in law. Time is running out as children continue to flee devastating situations by foot, in the back of lorries and on flimsy dinghies in search of safety and loved ones.

Deputy Executive Director of Unicef UK, Lily Caprani, said: “Every day the Government fails to make a simple change to the rules that could help reunite refugee children with their loved ones, more children continue to risk everything in desperate attempts to reach the safety of their family. These children deserve the stability and continuity that their close family can provide. When you’ve lost your home, your family are your home. Time is running out to show the rules need to be fixed – and we’re counting not only on the support of our amazing Ambassadors and High Profile Supporters, but on the support of the UK public to help us get justice for those innocent children that need us most”.

Please join Eddie Izzard, Olivia Colman, Martin Bell and Chris Hoy by signing the petition, and helping every brother, sister and grandchild have the future they deserve: www.unicef.uk/FamiliesTogether

Unicef UK Ambassador and High Profile Supporter Quotes

Olivia Colman, Unicef UK High Profile Supporter said: “Someone once defined siblings as children of the same parents who are perfectly normal until they get together. It makes me laugh to think about my own brother and sister that way.

“Our experience of growing up, and of having the same parents – so much that is funny, weird, unique and important about who we are and where we came from – is like a kind of secret code between us. Now I have the great pleasure of seeing my own children beginning to develop their secret code, a sense of belonging and security that they will always share with their brothers and sister.

“It breaks my heart to think that there are children out there – children who have already been through far too much – who are being kept separate from their brothers and sisters.  Children for whom that secret sibling code might be the only thing of value that they possess, and all that they need. We must act now to reunite these children and protect their futures!”

Sir Chris Hoy, Unicef UK Ambassador said: “I am a little brother to my older sister Carrie – she is an amazing person, incredibly selfless, and the person that holds the whole family together.

“As children we used to play together a lot and have all sorts of fun with games in the garden and then as teenagers she helped me get my first job covering her work in a bookshop as she left for University. I definitely wasn’t as good at selling books as she was, but it didn’t matter.

“Fast forward to my adult life, and Carrie has always been an unbelievable support. She travelled the world with me and was always there shouting, cheering and waving flags but the biggest thing for me was knowing she was there for me regardless of whether I won medals or not.

“That special, unwritten and undeniable love that a sister or brother can give one another is incredibly special. I couldn’t imagine life without my sister – and neither should any child, no matter what the circumstances. We must act now!”

Martin Bell OBE, Unicef UK Ambassador said: “Both my grandfathers were inspirational and I myself am honoured to be a grandfather three times over. I don’t know if my grandchildren learn anything from me, but I certainly learn a lot from them. We have fun together. They go tree climbing and help me build bonfires – we are a team across two generations.

“I do try to persuade my grandchildren from time to time to take their eyes of the little screens in their hands and look at the world around them. This is so they never miss out on life; a life which we are so fortunate to cherish and excel in.

“I know that other grandchildren around the world are not so lucky, so I urge this country to do their part with those children we can reach by reuniting them with their grandparents already here in the UK.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

For more information please contact: Unicef UK Media Team on 0207 375 6030 / media@unicef.org.uk

Currently under the UK Immigration Rules children only have a right to join their parents who have refugee or humanitarian status in the UK. For extended family members it is only possible under very exceptional circumstances, the sad reality that all too often faces these children is that they’ve lost or been separated from their parents.  This is why they are forced to make deadly journeys to Europe where, under EU law – the Dublin III Regulation – they can apply to join uncles, aunts, grandparents and adult siblings in the UK. A simple change to our law could mean that children aren’t forced to make these journeys, but can apply from their country of origin or transit to reach the safety of family already here in the UK. Brexit adds impetus to make this change. When the UK leaves the EU it is likely to also leave the EU regulation which currently many children are relying on to reach family here. At this point they’ll be left with nothing but the UK’s rules which, as they are, simply do not work. 

The ‘We are Family’ film was produced by FCB inferno with full production credits as follows:

  • Director: Alvaro Ramirez
  • Producer: Kate Grenfell
  • Production Company: FCB inferno
  • Creative: Vivien Decombe and Gerard Roda
  • DOP: Timothy Wood
  • Sound: Jon @ Factory Studios

Film Script 

I am not Olivia Colman.

I am not my characters, I am not the scripts.

I am the joke that still annoys you every time, and the story that never fails to crack you up.

I am not Chris Hoy.

I am the school projects done with a little help, and the hugs, the excuses and the laughs every Christmas Day

I am not Eddie Izzard.

I am the countless wrangles over who is to do the dishes

I am the silly comebacks, the bad ideas and the shared wishes

I am not Martin Bell.

I am the things you couldn’t learn from anyone else, and the mistakes you need to make for yourself.

I am not Olivia Colman.

I am not Eddie Izzard.

I am not Martin Bell.

I am not Chris Hoy.

I am sister

I am brother

I am grandfather

I am brother

And we are family

But it’s not the same for every family.

Right now, thousands of children are being kept apart from their families because UK  law makes it so difficult for children to be reunited with their  brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts and grandparents.

But together we can fix this law.

Please sign the petition, and help every child have the future they deserve.

About Unicef

Unicef is the world’s leading organisation for children, promoting the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

About FCB

FCB Inferno is the London agency of global advertising network FCB. The network dates back to 1873, and now has 9000 employees in 90 countries, with 200 at FCB Inferno. One of London’s leading advertising agencies, FCB Inferno focuses on creating “Never Finished” campaign ideas for clients that reflect a deep understanding of the brand’s past, a respect for the present and an anticipation of the future potential. FCB Inferno’s clients sit across industry sectors and currently include the UK Government (for which they created the This Girl Can brand), BMW, NIVEA, Sky and UEFA. FCB Inferno received two Grand Prix awards at Cannes International Festival of Creativity in 2015 and 2016. FCB Inferno has been voted the top UK agency promoting good causes in 2016 by The Good Report, ranking third overall in the list of international agencies.

[1] https://www.iom.int/news/mediterranean-migrant-arrivals-reached-171635-2017-deaths-reach-3116