News Asia-Pacific

Wednesday 27 August 2014

We must act on 50m refugees, says Jolie

Published 21/06/2014 | 02:30

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Angelina Jolie visits ethnic Karenni refugee Baw Meh, 75

FILM star Angelina Jolie has called for urgent action to end the vicious cycle of violence and displacement as the number of refugees worldwide exceeds 50 million for the first time since World War II.

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The actress was speaking during a World Refugee Day visit to Myanmar refugees in northern Thailand, as UNHCR's latest global trends report revealed that there are now an unprecedented 51.2 million refugees, internally displaced people and asylum-seekers worldwide.

Global numbers of refugees increased by six million between the end of 2012 and the end of 2013.

Ms Jolie, who is the UN refugee agency's special envoy, said: "Preventing armed conflict should be a collective responsibility of the international community.

"This staggering surge in refugee numbers shows that the world is failing to meet that responsibility. This is an unjust and unsustainable situation.

"The only answer is to devote greater efforts and resources to addressing conflict worldwide – there are no humanitarian solutions to political problems."

Ms Jolie was speaking on a visit to Ban Mai Nai Soi camp in Mae Hong Son Province yesterday.

According to the UNHCR report, the main factors behind the dramatic surge in numbers were the escalation of conflicts in the Middle East, Central and West Africa, as well as the lack of solutions for existing refugees.

Ms Jolie voiced concern over the deepening crisis in Syria and its spillover into Iraq, where a humanitarian emergency is unfolding as hundreds of thousands of people flee in the latest chapter in the decade-old war.

Some could be displaced for the third time, having fled to Syria after 2003's sectarian violence in Iraq, been forced to return home last year as their safe haven became a battleground, only to be uprooted again by the recent unrest.

Irish Independent

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