European Filmmakers Call for Action in Refugee Crisis

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Daniel Craig

Some 3,000 European film professionals have signed a pro-asylum petition, including Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux and Oscar-winning directors Michael Haneke and Susanne Bier.

Some 3,000 European film professionals, including James Bond actor Daniel Craig, Downfall star Bruno Ganz and Oscar-winning directors Susanne Bier and Michael Haneke, have signed a petition calling for immediate action in Europe's refugee crisis.

The online petition, "For a Thousand Lives: Be Human," is an appeal to European governments to put a stop to the thousands of refugees who have lost their lives in their effort to reach Europe. Others who have signed the petition include actors Lea Seydoux, Dany Boon, Jonas Nay and Katja Riemann and directors Agnieszka Holland, Joshua Oppenheimer, Aki Kaurismaki and Thomas Vinterberg, as well as hundreds of film professionals from across all fields.

The move follows the publication of a photograph last week of the body of Alan Kurdi, a Syrian toddler who, along with his family, died trying to flee the civil war in their home country.

The photo, which was published on the front page of newspapers across Europe and the world, has spurned action on the growing refugee crisis. This week, European leaders agreed to an initial plan to better distribute refugees across the continent, though there are still wide discrepancies between EU countries. The U.K., for example, has pledged to take in an additional 20,000 refugees over the next five years. The German government, which expects 800,000 new refugee applications this year alone, has indicated it can absorb half a million refugees a year for several years.

In the petition, the European film industry calls for political leaders to put the values of “respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights” at the core of EU asylum policy. Specifically, they call for European nations to act in solidarity for what the group calls “the biggest refugee crisis since WWII.”

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