LONDON: British pop music star Dua Lipa has branded the UK government “short-sighted and small-minded” over its rhetoric toward migrants.
The singer, of Kosovo Albanian parentage, called for “more empathy” toward Albanians in an interview with the Sunday Times.
In October last year, Home Secretary Suella Braverman labeled Albanian migrants crossing into the UK illegally via small boats in the English Channel “criminals.”
Around 16,000 Albanians made the journey in 2022, which Braverman referred to as an “invasion” of England’s south coast.
Lipa, 27, who was born in London, said: “Of course it hurt. All those words thrown around about immigrants? I always felt London was an amalgamation of cultures. It is integral to the city.
“So, when you hear the government talk about Albanians, for example, it hurts. It’s short-sighted and small-minded, but it’s the way a lot of people think.”
The singer’s parents fled their homeland in 1992 to escape the growing tensions that eventually led to war in 1998.
“No matter how we try to change the rhetoric, there will always be those who think, ‘Immigrants are coming into the country and taking jobs’,” Lipa said.
“However, immigrants who have come here have earned their keep by working incredibly hard.
“There needs to be more empathy, because people don’t leave their country unless they have to out of necessity, out of fear for their family.”
Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama praised the singer during a visit to London in March, saying: “Dua Lipa is not just simply a British singer, but she’s an Albanian immigrant that has come here, as many have come, to construct, to nurse, to cook and to sing for you, and we want to make sure that this community feels not only safe but feels honored here.”
Rama, who held talks with his British counterpart Rishi Sunak on illegal migration and repatriation, added that he found Braverman’s rhetoric “very, very disgraceful.”