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By John Glenday | Reporter

February 1, 2018 | 3 min read

Unicef has recruited a comedian, actress and sports star to help it gain traction in its petition for the government expand refugee family reunions to give children the right to apply to join siblings, aunts, uncles and grandparents who now reside in the UK after fleeing war and disaster.

Brand ambassadors Eddie Izzard, Sir Chris Hoy, Martin Bell OBE have been recruited alongside supporter Olivia Colman to voice an emotional campaign to relax existing laws which restrict such arrivals to immediate parents only.

'We Are Family', which was created by FCB Inferno, takes the form of a 60-second video in which the quartet disavow their own names to describe themselves in terms of their relationship to others, personalizing their stories in the process before contrasting their own experience with that of migrants attempting to enter the UK stowed in lorries. The film was directed by FCB Inferno's Alvaro Ramirez and produced by Kate Grenfell.

Opening the piece Colman narrates: “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.”

Explaining their motivation behind the promotion deputy executive director of Unicef UK, Lily Caprani, commented: “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”.

Supporters are being urged to sign a petition designed to put political pressure on the government to relax immigration laws when the UK leaves the EU.

The plight of refugees has become a global issue in recent years with unprecedented numbers of people on the move.

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