Game of Thrones’ Lena Headey Weighs in on the British Treatment of Refugees: ‘We’re Dehumanizing Them’

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Game of Thrones’ Lena Headey is currently filming The Flood, an upcoming drama in which she portrays an immigration officer charged with determining the fate of asylum seekers entering the U.K., so it’s no wonder she has the current state of refugees entering the United Kingdom on her mind. And has found it wanting. “I understand there are safety issues, and screenings for security, but it could be so much more human and compassionate,” the actress told The Guardian while discussing the film. “It’s horrendous that after the journeys that these refugees go through, they are then treated immediately with suspicion and fear.” Says Headey, “I get it, this is a crisis with so many levels, but we have also lost sight of the fact it’s not a ‘problem’, it’s people, it’s other human beings. And we’re dehumanizing them.”

If hearing from an outspoken entertainer makes any critic want to shout them down, Headey suggests they go ahead and save their breath. ”People look at actors who speak out and say ‘oh well, it’s so easy for them.’ There are a lot of people who are saying ‘it’s all right for you, you champagne socialist’ but that’s fucking bollocks. I’m just a human being with a conscience,” she retorts. “My kids need to know that I gave a shit — that’s what drives me most.” Headey was one of several Game of Thrones stars, including Liam Cunningham and Maisie Williams, who visited Syrian refugee camps in Greece last summer. While some Brits worry about the repercussions of welcoming refugees into the U.K., Headey’s experience at the camps suggested to her that the real problems will arise when displaced people are forced to languish indefinitely without permanent living situations or jobs. “If we don’t have a shift where we recognize these people for who they were before they were forced to leave their countries — people who are educated with family values, who had careers and homes — then we are going to be in trouble, we really are,” the actress concludes. “We are going to grow an absolute fury, you could feel it.”

GoT’s Lena Headey Weighs in on U.K.’s Treatment of Refugees