Angelina Jolie visits refugees in Iraq camp

Angelina Jolie visits refugees in Iraq camp

Angelina Jolie visits refugees in Iraq camp

Special Envoy Angelina Jolie meeting members of the Yazidi minority in Khanke IDP Camp, in northern Iraq on January 25. AFP PHOTO

UNHCR special envoy Angelina Jolie returned to Dohuk on Jan. 25 to visit Syrian refugees and displaced Iraqi citizens in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to offer support and emphasize the dire needs of 3.3 million displaced people in the area.

“It is shocking to see how the humanitarian situation in Iraq has deteriorated since my last visit. On top of large numbers of Syrian refugees, 2 million Iraqis were displaced by violence in 2014 alone. Many of these innocent people have been uprooted multiple times as they seek safety amid shifting frontlines,” Jolie said, according to the U.N. Refugee Agency.

Jolie visited an informal settlement and a formal camp at Khanke that accommodates internally displaced Iraqis as well as 20,000 people from the Yazidi community that fled the Sinjar region in early August last year. Jolie spoke to people and listened to their experiences of hardship and loss.

“Nothing can prepare you for the horrific stories of these survivors of kidnap, abuse and exploitation and to see how they cannot all get the urgent help they need and deserve,” Jolie said. “The needs so dramatically outstrip the resources available in this vast crisis. Much more international assistance is needed,” the special envoy added.

Although much aid has been provided by the government, most of the aid coming from the UNHCR and partners are inhibited by a lack of funding, as well as security constraints.
Jolie also made a visit to the Domiz camp, which now accommodates more than 50,000 Syrian refugees.
While the conflict approaches its fifth year in Syria, Jolie said: “The war in Syria is at the root of so many of the problems faced here in Iraq and across the region. There is an urgent need for international leadership to break the cycle of violence in Syria, and to find a way forward toward a just and sustainable peace agreement.”

While concluding her first day of two-day visit to Iraq, Jolie also expressed her sympathy to the family of Haruna Yukawa, a Japanese hostage reportedly executed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on Jan. 24, as well as to all families and victims such acts.