Entertainment News

  • 23 May 2014, 14:35

Jolie Makes Plea For Syrian Refugee Help

Angelina Jolie has called on Britain and other Western countries to take in more refugees from Syria.

In an interview with Sky News, the American actress condemned what she called the failure of the international community to intervene effectively in recent crises in the Middle East and Nigeria.

Jolie, who has been a UN humanitarian ambassador for 12 years, said she lies awake at night troubled by the increasing "horrors of the world".

The British Government has faced repeated calls to open its doors to refugees from Syria, where an estimated nine million people have fled their homes following a bloody civil war.

Ministers have preferred to provide funds to Syria's neighbours to help them deal with the enormous number of refugees crossing the border.

In March this year it launched a new scheme to take in several hundred of the most vulnerable victims of the conflict, but so far only 24 individuals have been accepted.

Asked by Sky News presenter Anna Jones if Britain and other countries should take in more refugees, Jolie replied: "Yes."

But she added that the international community's current approach to such a crisis is "broken".

"How is it we do not have the international body to be able to all work together ? to be able to answer these situations when they begin, or to prevent them from happening?" she asked.

"Or when they do not, to let them escalate to such a point where they are so out of control we absolutely don't know what to do and what move to make and it is beyond our control.

"We need to start to acknowledge how much is broken in our system."

Her call for action has been welcomed by The Refugee Council - a UK charity that works with refugees.

Chief executive Maurice Wren told Sky News: "I think it is hard not to be impressed by Angelina Jolie and the relationship she appears to have developed with our Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Foreign Secretary, particularly around the treatment of women in developing countries.

"On the Syrian refugee crisis, she has played a blinder. She is telling it as she sees it - she gets out there, she visits the camps - it is her direct experience and we are certainly happy to echo the calls she makes."

Jolie lamented what she called the increasing inability of the international community to solve crises like the recent kidnapping of 200 Nigerian schoolgirls by extremist group Boko Haram.

However, she admitted she could offer no immediate solution herself.

"I do lie awake at night like most people wondering? I cannot get my head around all of the horrors in the world today," she said.

"I've been working with the UN for over 12 years and it just seems to be getting worse, the situations around the world.

"We seem to have less of a handle on how to control, how to intervene, how to answer all the needs of the people around the world."

Jolie - speaking to Sky News to promote her new film Maleficent - said she was "sickened" by the Nigeria kidnapping and suggested previous inaction by governments had encouraged extremists to believe they can act with impunity.

"This group not only feels they have a right to do this to these girls but they'll get away with it because there's been a precedent set in the past because so many people have got away with actions like this, abusing girls and hurting them, kidnapping," she said.

Disney's Maleficent is released in UK cinemas on May 28.

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