ZAATARI REFUGEE CAMP (Jordan): Movie star Angelina Jolie visited a camp for Syrian refugees in Jordan on Sunday, calling for a political solution to Syria’s long-running civil war and saying that “humanitarian aid is not a long-term solution.”
Children crowded around the US actress as she spoke in a patch of muddy space between hundreds of rows of caravans in the desert camp of Zaatari, less than an hour’s drive from the Syrian border.
It was Jolie’s fifth visit to Jordan. “It is heartbreaking to return to Jordan and witness the levels of hardship and trauma among Syrian refugees as this war enters its eighth year,” Jolie said after meeting refugee families and teenage girls in a UN-run community program.
“I’m very proud. You’re very strong, all of you,” Jolie, a special envoy for the UN refugee agency, told them.
Nearly 5.5 million displaced Syrians are hosted by Jordan, Lebanon and other neighboring countries.
Jolie said the hospitality of the overburdened host countries is “an example to the world at a time when solidarity with refugees is in short supply.”
She said the UN refugee agency received only half the requested funding for the Syria crisis last year and only 7 percent so far this year.”Humanitarian aid is not a long-term solution. No one wants to get off aid more than a Syrian family,” Jolie said.
“A viable political settlement is the only way to create the conditions for Syrians to be able to return to their homes, to end the human suffering and the strain on host countries,” she added.
Jordan hosts more than 650,000 registered Syrian refugees, according to the UN refugee agency. More than 78,000 live in Zaatari.
Earlier in November last year, Angelina Jolie has condemned sexual violence inflicted on Rohingya women in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, where a military counter-insurgency operation has sent hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslim refugees across the border to Bangladesh.
More than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Buddhist-majority Myanmar since late August, driven out by the military’s actions that a top UN official has described as a classic case of “ethnic cleansing.”
Jolie, a special envoy of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told a Bangladesh delegation in the Canadian city of Vancouver that she planned to visit the Rohingya victims of sexual violence.
“Later she mentioned accordingly in her keynote speech about the sexual violence faced by almost each female Rohingya who fled to Bangladesh and condemned the armed conflict in Myanmar,” Bangladesh’s foreign ministry said in a statement. It gave no details of Jolie’s proposed trip.
On Thursday, New York-based Human Rights Watch accused Myanmar security forces of committing widespread rape against women and girls as part of a campaign of ethnic cleansing.
The allegation echoes an accusation this week by Pramila Patten, the UN special envoy on sexual violence in conflict, who said sexual violence was “being commanded, orchestrated and perpetrated by the Armed Forces of Myanmar.”
Myanmar’s army released a report on Monday denying all allegations of rape and killings by security forces, days after replacing the general in charge of the operation.
In Parliament on Wednesday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh would overcome obstacles to resolve the Rohingya crisis, with the help of the international community.”I strongly believe we will find a peaceful solution to the unprecedented crisis with the help of the international community, despite various obstacles,” she said.
There were already about 300,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh before the most recent exodus.