Jolie urges leaders to make Syria diplomacy work

Published Jun 21, 2013 01:45pm
UN refugee chief, Antonio Guterres, second left, along with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) special envoy, actress Angelina Jolie, second right, visit Zaatari refugee camp, near the Syrian border, in Mafraq, Jordan, Thursday, June 20, 2013. — AP Photo
UN refugee chief, Antonio Guterres, second left, along with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) special envoy, actress Angelina Jolie, second right, visit Zaatari refugee camp, near the Syrian border, in Mafraq, Jordan, Thursday, June 20, 2013. — AP Photo
A handout picture made available by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) shows US actress Angelina Jolie (R) listening to Syrian refugees in a Jordanian military camp based the the Jordan-Syria border on June 18, 2013. — AFP Photo
A handout picture made available by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) shows US actress Angelina Jolie (R) listening to Syrian refugees in a Jordanian military camp based the the Jordan-Syria border on June 18, 2013. — AFP Photo
Actress Angelina Jolie (R), the U.N. refugee agency's special envoy, listens to Norway's Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide speak during a news conference at the Al Zaatri refugee camp, which is hosting Syrians displaced by the conflict, on World Refugee Day, in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria June 20, 2013.— Reuters Photo
Actress Angelina Jolie (R), the U.N. refugee agency's special envoy, listens to Norway's Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide speak during a news conference at the Al Zaatri refugee camp, which is hosting Syrians displaced by the conflict, on World Refugee Day, in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria June 20, 2013.— Reuters Photo
A handout picture made available by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) shows US actress Angelina Jolie (R) holding a baby as she visits a family of syrian refugees in their apartment in Amman on June 19, 2013. — AFP Photo
A handout picture made available by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) shows US actress Angelina Jolie (R) holding a baby as she visits a family of syrian refugees in their apartment in Amman on June 19, 2013. — AFP Photo
A handout picture made available by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) shows US actress Angelina Jolie (R) listening to Syrian refugees in a Jordanian military camp based the the Jordan-Syria border on June 18, 2013. — AFP Photo
A handout picture made available by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) shows US actress Angelina Jolie (R) listening to Syrian refugees in a Jordanian military camp based the the Jordan-Syria border on June 18, 2013. — AFP Photo

ZAATARI, Jordan: Angelina Jolie said Thursday the Syrian civil war is the world's most acute humanitarian crisis and called on world leaders to make diplomatic efforts to end it succeed.

Jolie spoke at Jordan's largest camp for Syrian refugees, which she toured as special envoy for the United Nations refugee agency.

"I appeal to the world leaders — please, set aside your differences, unite to end the violence, and make diplomacy succeed," she told reporters, drawing attention to the UN's World Refugee Day.

Jolie is returning to her humanitarian work after announcing last month that she had her breasts removed after discovering she has an inherited genetic mutation that puts her at high risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

Her visit to Zaatari camp was her first visit public appearance with the United Nations refugee agency since the double mastectomy.

The actress said that by the end of this year, "half of Syria's population — 10 million people — will be in desperate need of food, shelter and assistance."

"The lives of millions of people are in your hands," said Jolie, who wore a black T-shirt and pants under the scorching desert sun, as billows of dust were kicked up by the wind. "You must find common ground."

In her news conference under a tent in Zaatari camp, she said that refugees are "often forgotten and frequently misunderstood."

"They are regarded as a burden, as helpless individuals, or as people who wish to move to someone else's country," she said.

"That is not who they are," she added somberly. Rather, refugees are people to invest in, "who will one day rebuild their countries, and a more peaceful world for us all."

Jordan hosts more than half a million displaced Syrians, including 185,000 in Zaatari, which has become Jordan's fourth largest populated city.

Inaugurated last July, Zaatari is the world's second largest refugee camp, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The largest according to the UNHCR is Dadaab camp in Kenya, which houses 463,000 Somali refugees.

Jolie visited Zaatari along with UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres and Norwegian Foreign Affairs Minister Espen Barth Eide.


Do you have information you wish to share with Dawn.com? You can email our News Desk to share news tips, reports and general feedback. You can also email the Blog Desk if you have an opinion or narrative to share, or reach out to the Special Projects Desk to send us your Photos, or Videos.

More From This Section

Comments (1) Closed




Ammara
Jun 22, 2013 04:20pm

A brave woman who channels her fame towards the right reasons and to help those who wouldn't get much attention otherwise. With reference to the wars in Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan and the drone attacks in Pakistan- the regimes responsible measure the collateral damage in graphs etc. Where one man's collateral damage is another man's dead son/ daughter. Refugee camps are destroyed, livelihood is lost and the development of these countries is literally stopped. Also, infiltration of refugee's who have lost everything causes problems for the host country, where large masses of refugees pour in and with them- insurgents and terrorists.