Angelina Jolie: U.N. Security Council failing Syrian refugees

By Danielle Haynes  |  April 24, 2015 at 5:26 PM
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NEW YORK, April 24 (UPI) -- Actress Angelina Jolie on Friday said the international community isn't doing enough to stop the humanitarian crisis in Syria.

Jolie, who serves as a special envoy for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, told the U.N. Security Council the refugee crisis in Syria has been worsened by division and indecision in the international community.

"Any one of the Syrians that I met would speak more eloquently about the conflict than I ever could," she said. "I'm here for them because this is their United Nations. Here, all countries and all peoples are equal. The purpose of the UN is to prevent and end conflict. To bring countries together; find diplomatic solutions and save lives. We are failing to do this in Syria."

She said each of the 11 times she visited Syrian refugees in Iraq she's seen years of hope turn to anger, and anger then turn into despair and hopelessness.

"On my last visit, in February, anger had subsided to resignation and misery...To be a Syrian caught up in this conflict is to be cut off from every law and principle designed to protect innocent life," Jolie said.

"The problem is not lack of information. We know in excruciating detail what is happening."

Jolie urged action to stop the violence in Syria causing people to leave the country, and the sexual violence against refugees.

"I urge the Council to visit refugees and see their impact. Those refugees cannot come to the Council so please will you go to them," she said.

In the five years since civil war broke out in Syria, there are an estimated three million Syrian refugees in the Middle East region and another 50,000 who have sought asylum in more than 90 countries outside the region. The UNHCR says some 10.8 million Syrians needs humanitarian assistance, including 6.5 million internally displaced people.

Because of ongoing fighting, gaining access to provide humanitarian aid is difficult and at times impossible.

In five years of fighting, approximately 220,000 people have been killed and more than one million injured.

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