Angelina Jolie: ‘World leaders need to step up to end Syrian crisis’

Angelina Jolie has marked World Refugee Day on Thursday (20Jun13) by calling on global leaders to work harder to bring an end to the Syrian civil war, branding it the “worst humanitarian crisis of the 21st century”. The Wanted actress travelled to Jordan earlier this week (begs17Jun13) to meet with those displaced by the ongoing violent conflict in neighbouring Syria, and on Thursday she held a press conference in her role as a special envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to urge leading politicians and diplomats to find a suitable solution to the war.
Speaking at the Zaatari camp, Jordan’s largest location for fleeing Syrians, she said, “I appeal to the world leaders – please, set aside your differences, unite to end the violence, and make diplomacy succeed…
“By the end of this year, half of Syria’s population – 10 million people – will be in desperate need of food, shelter and assistance… The lives of millions of people are in your hands. You must find common ground.”
Jolie also used the opportunity to address a popular misconception about refugees, insisting, “They are regarded as a burden, as helpless individuals, or as people who wish to move to someone else’s country. That is not who they are. (Refugees are the ones) who will one day rebuild their countries, and a more peaceful world for us all.”
And, in an accompanying statement issued by the U.N., Jolie adds, “The worst humanitarian crisis of the 21st century is unfolding in the Middle East today… The international response to this crisis falls short of the vast scale of this human tragedy.”
According to figures released by U.N. officials, more than 1.6 million people have fled Syria to seek refuge in surrounding countries since the start of the civil uprising against President Bashar al-Assad in March, 2011, and over 93,000 have been killed in the conflict so far.
Jolie’s journey to the Middle East is her first humanitarian trip since announcing the news of her double mastectomy last month (May13).