Jolie says refugee system breaking down
REUTERS photoAngelina Jolie, actress and the U.N. refugee agency’s special envoy, has warned that the international humanitarian system for refugees is breaking down.
Speaking as part of the BBC’s World on the Move day of coverage of global migration issues, Jolie said the “number of conflicts and scale of displacement had grown so large” that the system to protect and return refugees was not working.
She said U.N. appeals were drastically under-funded and there are more than 60 million people displaced globally, a figure higher than at any time in the past 70 years.
“This tells us something deeply worrying about the peace and security of the world,” she said. “The average time a person will be displaced is now nearly 20 years.”
“With this the state of today’s world, is it any surprise that some of these desperate people, who are running out of all options and who see no hope of returning home, would make a push for Europe as a last resort, even at the risk of death?” she asked, adding that Europe was “only a fraction of the global refugee problem.”
“We in the West are neither at the center of the refugee crisis, nor - for the most part - the ones making the greatest sacrifice,” Jolie added, reminding of the refugee situations in Turkey, Pakistan, Lebanon, Iran, Ethiopia, and Jordan.
She warned that amid a “fear of uncontrolled migration” there was a “risk of a race to the bottom, with countries competing to be the toughest, in the hope of protecting themselves whatever the cost or challenge to their neighbors, and despite their international responsibilities.”
Earlier in the day, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi told the BBC that the refugee crisis was now a “global issue” and that simply turning migrants away “won’t work.”