Jolie decries 'explosion of suffering' after visiting refugees in Turkey
Sun Jun 21, 2015 1:08pm IST
MIDYAT, Turkey (Reuters) - Hollywood actress and director Angelina Jolie on Saturday described a spiralling global refugee crisis as an "explosion of human suffering" whose causes the international community refuses to confront.
Jolie, who serves as a United Nations special envoy for refugees, was speaking at a news conference in southeastern Turkey, home to Syrians and Iraqis displaced by war, on World Refugee Day.
The U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said in a report last week that there were now more refugees than at any other time in history, with 59.5 million people displaced from their homes worldwide.
"There is an explosion of human suffering and displacement on a level that has never been seen before," Jolie said, warning that Syrians and Iraqis were running out of safe havens as neighbouring states reached the limit of their capacity.
"It is hard to point to a single instance where, as an international community, we are decisively addressing the root causes of refugee flows," she said.
Jolie and U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres met Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in the city of Midyat, some 50 km (30 miles) from the Syrian border. She also visited refugees.
This was Jolie's third visit to Turkey since 2011, when the conflict in Syria began. The war has displaced more than 3 million refugees, or almost a fifth of the pre-war population.
Turkey shelters 1.8 million Syrian refugees, as well as thousands of Yazidis, whose ancient religion draws on Zoroastrianism, Christianity and Islam, who fled attacks by Islamic State in Iraq last August.
The long-running wars in neighbouring Iraq and Syria mean that Turkey has overtaken Pakistan to become the world's leading host of refugees, and has spent $6 billion on assisting Syrians alone, UNHCR said.
(Reporting by Ayla Jean Yackley and Umit Bektas; Editing by Digby Lidstone)
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