Angelina Jolie and John Kerry Address Global Refugee Crisis on World Refugee Day
The actress-director, who is the Special Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, called for a solution to the global refugee crisis and spoke out against the “rising intolerance and xenophobia” that’s developing out of the conflict.
Praising her for her “personal leadership,” Kerry commented, “[Jolie has] been working at this for years. This is not a passing fancy for her at all; it is a lifetime commitment.”
Jolie noted that to ignore the plight of refugees (who now number 65 million, an all-time historical high) would be “naive, irresponsible and dangerous.”
If I ask people for anything on this day, it is to take a moment and to truly grasp what a refugee crisis of today’s magnitude means for peace and security of the world. I ask people to understand that with 65 million people displaced by conflict, we are facing a world of wars we cannot ignore or turn our backs on. To do that would be naive, irresponsible, and dangerous.
She also asked that nations come together and find a new solution for the global crisis:
We face a very clear choice: to continue as we are and see displacement and insecurity grow, or to come together with other nations and find a new approach, one that does not focus solely on aid and resettlement but on solution, stability, and returns.
And perhaps subtly in response to those individuals like Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who has counter-effectively said that he would not permit Muslim immigrants from entering the country, for example, as well as would build a wall separating Mexico from the U.S., Jolie remarked:
Partly in response to this crisis, we are seeing rising intolerance and xenophobia. But strength lies in mastering and channeling our emotions so that we pursue policies that reduce – not inflame – threats to our security.
We need leadership. We need solutions.
Kerry added, “We’re living in a contentious time when some try to make a negative out of being a refugee or somehow turn people who are refugees into threats. They are American; they’re as American as anybody, and they have a story to tell about how America keeps faith with people’s dreams and hopes and aspirations.”
Jolie has worked for the United Nations since 2001; she has since carried out 50 missions for them and made several appearances all over the world throughout the years to commemorate the day of observance. It was recently announced that she would be joining the London School of Economics as a visiting professor, teaching a course through the school’s Centre for Women, Peace and Security.
She explained via The Guardian, “It is vital that we broaden the discussion on how to advance women’s rights and end impunity for crimes that disproportionately affect women, such as sexual violence in conflict. I am looking forward to teaching and to learning from the students, as well as to sharing my own experiences of working alongside governments and the United Nations.”