The ongoing civil war in Syria has entered its fifth consecutive year with no end in sight. The crisis has claimed lives of hundreds of thousands of people while displacing a large chunk of the population, forcing them to seek safe haven in far off places.
While over a million refugees crossed the Mediterranean to reach the European shores, a large number of asylum seekers settled in Jordan, Lebanon and other surrounding regions. Renowned actress and UNHCR envoy Angelina Jolie recently visited one such settlement to stress the need for diplomatic solutions to the crisis.
“We cannot discuss this as if it were a problem confined to the situations of tens of thousands of refugees in Europe,” said the 40-year-old activist. “We cannot improve this reality by partial responses or by responding to some crises and not others, or by helping some refugees and not others, or by excluding Afghan refugees among others or by making a distinction between refugees on the grounds of religion.”
The sad truth is, while those fleeing Syria deserve the world’s utmost attention, they are not the only ones facing adversity at home. The plight of refugees hailing from Afghanistan or African countries often gets shunned because the situation in their countries is not considered as troublesome as in the Middle East.
Moreover, the past few months have seen high-profile evacuations of makeshift refugee camps inhabited by Afghans in order to accommodate the influx of Syrian migrants.
“We cannot manage the world through aid relief in the place of diplomacy and political solutions,” Jolie added. “We should never forget that for all the focus on the refugee situation in Europe at this time, the greatest pressure is still being felt in the Middle East and North Africa, as it has for each of the last five years.”
The actress, who has been working the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for years, also told the press there are 4.8 million Syrian refugees in this region and 6.5 million people displaced inside Syria.
Watch her complete interview in the clip below: