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Cate Blanchett and Kit Harington Made a Chilling Video Highlighting the Plight of Refugees

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A pair of pants, a house key, children too young to walk. These are some of things that refugees have hurriedly picked up and carried when they fled their homes because of conflict or persecution.

A star-studded cast led by U.N. Goodwill Ambassador Cate Blanchett reads out a poem listing the items — some vital to survival, others sentimental — in a new video produced by the U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR.

Blanchett performs the chilling poem by Jenifer Toksvig, titled “What They Took With Them”, along with Game of Thrones star Kit Harington, Peter Capaldi, Keira Knightley, Juliet Stevenson, Stanley Tucci, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Douglas Booth, Jesse Eisenberg and Neil Gaiman.

“Over 65 million people across the world have been forced to leave everything behind them — everything — and start their lives again from scratch,” Blanchett said in a press release.

“As a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, I believe the very least each of us can do is work together to ensure refugees have the basics with which to build back their lives — an education, somewhere safe to live, the ability to work.”

The video was launched on Facebook Monday to promote UNHCR’s #WithRefugees campaign, which includes a petition urging governments to act with solidarity and shared responsibility in meeting the needs of refugees worldwide.

The petition calls for government commitments to ensure that refugee children have access to education, that all refugees have a safe place to live and the ability to work and contribute to their communities.

See the Objects Refugees Carry on Their Journey to Europe

Kabir, 23, from Afghanistan; “My mother has been missing for one day. The men were separated from the women in Croatia and her phone is not working. I took this photo two months ago. I am hoping someone recognizes her. We all want to go to Germany.”James Mollison for TIME
Abdullah, 9, from Turkmenistan; “I had to leave all my toys behind. I don’t know when we left home. I don’t see the days.” James Mollison for TIME
Marie, 32, from Democratic Republic of Congo; “I’m diabetic. I have to give myself an injection every day. I lost all my possessions at sea on the journey. The smugglers asked us to throw our bags overboard so we wouldn’t sink. I got these syringes from aid workers.”James Mollison for TIME
Parisa, 15, from Afghanistan; “We’ve been traveling for two months. We’re going to Sweden—I don’t know where. I got this bag six months ago. I keep our papers that the smugglers needed to get us past the borders.”James Mollison for TIME
Muhammed, from Afghanistan; “My family sent me this ring from Afghanistan. It’s a cross. I’m a Muslim, but I accept Christian prophets. It’s a symbol of my religion that I like to show. It’s also a memory from my family.”James Mollison for TIME
(from left back) Kader, 9, and Muhammed, 10 with (front) Caesar, 3, from Syria; “We came on a boat. We don’t have anything. They gave us these biscuits here. Traveling with children is hard.” — the boys’ mother, Shakrea, 26James Mollison for TIME
Ahmad, 27, from Syria; “My father [top photo] is a lawyer. He’s in Jordan with my mother and brother and sister. In Syria there’s nobody. Those [bottom photo] are my friends, taken at a party in university. We were dressed up for a dinner. All my friends are now in Syria, Turkey, Jordan — all split up.”James Mollison for TIME
Aisha, 14, from Syria; “I brought my charger because I need to use my phone to contact my friend in Sweden. We are going to live with him. My family was split up for hours on the journey and my phone didn’t work. It was horrible.”James Mollison for TIME
Parastoo, 23; Nooradin, 15 months; Mohsen, 31; from Iran; “We’re going to Italy. I bought this pendant a year ago in Iran. It has a part of the Quran written on paper inside. I wear it to bring us luck. It worked—we’re here.”James Mollison for TIME
Mariam, 56, from Syria; “I take it for pain. The traveling is bad for my knees. I have a headache everyday. The sun hurts my head. It gets so hot.”James Mollison for TIME
Muhammed, 7, from Syria; “We were on a boat and the smugglers took our bags. We only had the things we were wearing, the things we knew we’d need.” — Muhammed’s father, Ammar, 35James Mollison for TIME
Ahmad, 17, from Syria; “My friend gave me this watch. He’s like a brother. He’s in Syria still. He’s coming in a week. The watch helps me remember our history.”James Mollison for TIME
Muhammed, 22, from Iraq; “I don’t have anything. No bag. I’m like this. I want to go to France because I speak French.”James Mollison for TIME

Almost one million people have already signed the petition, which will be presented to the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 16, days before a U.N. summit on refugees and migrants.

More than 65 million people have been forcibly displaced worldwide, according to UNHCR. Of those, 21.3 million are refugees, who have fled their country of origin. More than half of them are under the age of 18. Some 10 million people are officially stateless, with no rights of citizenship.

UNHCR says that almost 34,000 people are displaced every day.


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