Actress and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Angelina Jolie Pitt has reached out to one Syrian refugee camp in Mardin, Turkey in commemoration of World Refugee Day. Alongside UNHRC partner António Guterres, Jolie Pitt has called for action to be taken to improve the welfare of the 1.77 million refugees attempting to rebuild their lives in Turkey alone.
In a statement made during her visit to the Syrian camp, Jolie Pitt discussed the harrowing reality of those 60 million refugees displaced from their homes, and the laws and attitudes that prevent them from rebuilding their lives. Angelina described Turkey as the “epicentre of a global crisis” as numbers of those forced to seek asylum have increased to one in every 122 people on the planet. “Never before have so many people been dispossessed and stripped of their basic human rights,” Jolie described.
While the heartfelt speech made by Jolie Pitt certainly appealed to our emotional side, the figures and statistics presented during her stay were difficult to ignore. “Turkey has become the country with the largest number of refugees anywhere in the world, with 1.8 million displaced Syrian and Iraqis,” Angelina expressed, “Lebanon is hosting an even greater density of displaced people: every fourth person in Lebanon is now a Syrian refugee.”
“These are not economic migrants looking for a better life, these are desperate refugees who are fleeing war and persecution. The average stay in a refugee camp is 17 years. Think of your own life. Think of what that would mean. For many, it is their entire childhood.”
Prior to her stay in Turkey with Syrian refugees, Jolie Pitt had taken 9-year-old daughter Shiloh to Lebanon in order to visit her first ever refugee camp. According to Angelina, Shiloh had developed an interest in her work with the United Nations and wished to contribute to those in need also. “Shiloh is very aware that I hold refugee families in high regard and has been asking to come on missions and meet them for many years,” Angelina told PEOPLE Magazine in an interview about their stay.
The work of Angelina Jolie Pitt to raise awareness of those desperately in need has bled over into her personal and professional lives multiple times as she regularly heads to difficult areas to aid those in need however she can. Ultimately Jolie Pitt’s trip to Turkey is an effort to raise not only awareness, but empathy and understanding.
“I plead to the international community and leaders of the world to recognize what this moment in mass human displacement means. This is not just another day. This World Refuge Day marks some frightening truths about our inability to manage international crisis –about our inability to broker peace and find lasting solutions”
To donate to the UNHCR this World Refugee Day or to read more about their efforts to aid those fleeing war and violence around the world, click here.
[Image credit: Handout via Getty Images]