Angelina Jolie warns of breakdown for global refugee system

UN special envoy criticises Donald Trump on immigration, saying ‘America is built on people coming together for freedom’

Angelina Jolie Pitt, who is the United Nations special envoy for the UNHCR refugee agency, has warned that fears about uncontrolled immigration had lent a “false air of legitimacy to those who promote politics of fear and separation.”

Actress Angelina Jolie Pitt criticised world leaders for what she described as a woefully inadequate response to the European refugee crisis, saying she has been “very disheartened” by the U.S. response in particular.

Around 60 million people worldwide have been forced to flee their homes because of wars, conflict or persecution, according to the United Nations. On a global scale, that means one in 122 is displaced, the largest number since the end of World War II. On average, Jolie said, a person will be displaced for nearly 20 years.

“These are decent families who are registered and are waiting for an opportunity to come home. We should never treat them like beggars, a burden or even a threat,” she said. “None of us are immune to becoming refugees.”

The actress said all nations needed to pull together to deal with the world’s displaced people, establishing a coordinated and orderly system for refugees and migrants.

“If your neighbor’s house is on fire you are not safe if you lock your doors. Isolationism is not strength,” Jolie said at a migration event organized by the BBC. “Strength lies in being unafraid. I believe this is again that once-in-a-generation moment when nations have to pull together.”

“How we respond will determine whether we create a more stable world, or face decades of far greater instability.”

The US actress said she was particularly disheartened by the U.S. response to the global refugee crisis. She went on to address Republican US presidential contender Donald Trump’s proposed ban on all Muslims entering the country.

“To me, America is built on people from around the world coming together for freedoms, and especially freedom of religion. It is hard to hear that this is coming from someone who’s pressing to be an American president.”

“We in the West are neither at the center of the refugee crisis, nor the ones making the greatest sacrifice” sahe said, reminding thatt e majority of the world’s refugees live in Turkey, Pakistan, Lebanon, Iran, Ethiopia, and Jordan.

“Unless we address the root causes of the crisis, we will not see a slowing in the numbers of refugees crossing borders, and in fact, quite the opposite: countries around the world will be asked to do more and more” she argued.

Jolie urged that every country “must do its fair share and no country can abdicate its responsibility.”

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