Riz Ahmed gives lecture on diversity in Parliament

Riz Ahmed encouraged politicians to force businesses to hire more diverse employees in Britain's House of Commons on Thursday (02Mar17).

The Star Wars: Rogue One actor, who is British Pakistani, gave a speech as part of TV network Channel 4's Annual Diversity Lecture in which he said the country had failed to fairly represent minority groups and the Government needed to create laws to address the problem.

"There is a serious hiring problem and it's only when the Government steps in to set the rules of the game that it really drives people," he said, according to the Press Association. "You won't be handcuffing employers to anything and they will thank you for it in the end."

The 34-year-old explained how he had to find work in America because he couldn't get much in the U.K. because of his ethnicity and that must change, so all kinds of British people can see themselves represented onscreen.

"The term diversity actually turns me off a little bit, it makes it sound like a luxury, like a bit of spice sprinkled on the top, but we need to understand that it isn't an extra, it is representation," he said. "Every time you see yourself reflected in the media it's a message that you matter."

Riz repeated his remarks about being stopped every time at the airport, and said if Asian actors and young people were better represented onscreen, it could curb extremism.

"Where is the counter-narrative to the terrorists, telling these kids they can be heroes here?" he said.

The actor posted a picture of him with his family standing outside Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament on Twitter and wrote, "Just have (gave) a speech @HouseofCommons to politicians & media about diversity or as I like to call it REPRESENTATION. (Ahmed clan repping here)."