Scottish actor Ewan McGregor addressed on Tuesday the issue of refugee children in Iraq by calling on greater efforts to be made towards helping them, warning that they're at a great risk of death, sexual violence or recruitment into armed groups.
This comes after Ewan visited Iraq as an ambassador for the United Nation's children's agency UNICEF, where he stressed that the situation in Iraq was becoming "increasingly desperate."
The Hollywood actor said that more than 3.6 million children are at risk, adding that tens of thousands of children have been killed in Iraq and Syria.
There is a piece on @ITVNews at 1:30pm today about my recent trip to #Iraq with @Unicef_UK I met with families whose lives have been torn apart by conflicts across Iraq and #Syria. During the visit, I met children who’ve been forced to flee their homes and make the most dangerous journeys, often without their parents, to find safety. These children are in terrible danger and they have no idea what their futures hold. Pic by Siegfried Modola
"Many of the children I've met in Iraq have been forced to flee their homes, risking their lives on dangerous journeys and have been exposed to unimaginable horrors," McGregor said in a statement.
Since the outbreak of the civil war in Syria in 2011, 4.8 million Syrians are estimated to have fled their country to Europe and neighboring countries, including Iraq.
Meanwhile, more than four million people in Iraq have been forced from their homes according to the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR.
During his visit to Northern Iraq last week, the "Moulin Rouge" actor visited the Debaga camp where he spent time with Syrian refugees and displaced Iraqi families around Erbil.
"He described meeting a girl called Mirna who told him that her family had slept in a disused, half-built shopping mall for a year, living off food and supplies from the local community," reported Reuters.
"This act of humanity should be replicated everywhere," said the actor and father-of-four children.
#Repost @unicef_uk (via @repostapp) ・・・ Ali, 8, and Amira, 5, and their family hired a smuggler to drive them across Iraq and #Syria toward Turkey when heavy bombing began in Baiji, #Iraq. The 6 children and their parents trekked through the night over the mountains to #Turkey. “I never want to repeat that journey,” recalls their older sister Muna. "It was a very dangerous route and a thin path.” Now they are back in #Iraq, living in an unfinished home on the outskirts of Erbil. Today, 1.5 million children are internally displaced in Iraq. #HeavyPrice #IraqChildren Photo: @unicef_iraq 2016 Yar, @cengizyar
"The world is facing an unprecedented refugee crisis and we must do more to protect the extraordinary number of children who have been torn from their homes by violent conflict."
"McGregor was first introduced to UNICEF in 2004 during his British television series "Long Way Round" when he travelled by motorbike around 12 countries which included visiting various children's projects in Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Mongolia," writes Reuters.
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