Statement for World Refugee Day 2013 – UNHCR – Special Envoy Angelina Jolie
Statement for World Refugee Day 2013 – UNHCR
Special Envoy Angelina Jolie
This statement was written by Angelina Jolie
The Syrian crisis here in Jordan and across the region is the most acute humanitarian crisis anywhere in the world today.
1.6 million people have poured out of Syria with nothing but the clothes on their backs, and more are arriving every minute.
More than half are children.
They have left behind a country in which millions of people are displaced, suffering hunger, deprivation and fear; where countless women and girls have endured rape and sexual violence; where a whole generation of children are out of school; and where at least 93,000 people have been killed: the friends, neighbors, fathers, mothers and children of people in this camp today.
I want to thank the people of Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey for hosting Syrian refugees in their homes and communities.Their generosity is lifesaving. But they cannotdo it alone. Appeals must be met and support given. The over-burdening of these countries’ economies is the greatest risk to their stability.
I pray all parties in the Syrian conflict will stop targeting civilians and allow access for humanitarian aid.
And I appeal to the world leaders – please, set aside your differences, unite to end the violence, and make diplomacy succeed. The UN Security Council must live up to its responsibilities.
Every 14 seconds someone crosses Syria’s border and becomes a refugee. And by the end of this year half of Syria’s population – ten 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.
On this day, World Refugee Day, I would like to say a word about the more than 15 Million
Refugees are often forgotten, and frequently misunderstood. 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.
I have met refugees around the world. They are resilient, hardworking and gracious people. They have experienced more violence and faced more fear than we will ever know. They have lost their homes, their belongings and their countries.
They have often lost family and friends to horrific deaths. Faced with war and oppression they have chosen not to take up arms, but to try to find safety for their families. They deserve our respect, our acknowledgment and our support – not just today but for the duration of their ordeal.
By helping refugees, here in Zaatari camp and across the globe, we are investing in people who will one day rebuild their countries, and a more peaceful world for us all. So on this day, I honor them, and I am privileged to be with them.”
About World Refugee Day, 20 June 2013
World Refugee Day was established by the UN General Assembly in late 2000 and is marked each year on 20 June. For World Refugee Day 2013 UNHCR has launched a campaign highlighting the strength and resilience of the more than 45 million people around the world forced to flee their homes due to war or persecution.
Multiple refugee emergencies in recent month have forced record numbers of people to flee – yet the vast majority of media coverage given over to the conflicts in Syria, Mali, South Sudan and DRC, rarely focuses on the human cost of war.
UNHCR’s “1 family” campaign aims to remind the world that the victims of war are mothers, fathers, sons and daughters and that even
UNHCR Global Trends Report
UNHCR’s flagship Global Trends report, showing worldwide forced displacement, was released on 19 June for this year’s World Refugee Day. The new report shows forced displacement at an 18-year high, with Syria having become a major contributing factor.
The report with accompanying press release and other materials can be downloaded at http://www.unhcr.org/globaltrendsjune2013/ .