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Did you see the blue ribbons worn by many at the Oscars? Here’s what they mean

#WithRefugees ribbons Sunday sent a message supporting the right to seek safety
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Bill Nighy arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, March 12, 2023, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Small and subtle, the blue ribbons worn by many celebrities at the Oscars nonetheless had an important message: support refugees.

According to a statement from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees cited by news outlets, donning the #WithRefugees ribbons Sunday “sends a powerful visual message that everyone has the right to seek safety, whoever, wherever, whenever.”

Like other U.N. agencies, UNHCR has a long history of celebrity engagement — most famously, Angelina Jolie was the refugee agency’s lone special envoy until parting ways last year.

Best actress nominee Cate Blanchett is a goodwill ambassador for UNHCR. But on Friday, U.N. spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric put in a plug for a goodwill ambassador from a different agency — the U.N. Development Programme. When asked whether he had a favorite for best picture, he demurred.

“No, but I do hope that the UNDP’s own goodwill ambassador Michelle Yeoh wins best actress, and we wish her all the best,” he said of the eventual winner.

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