Traveling to Turkey yesterday for World Refugee Day, actress and activist Angelina Jolie called for urgent international action on the refugee crisis currently taking place worldwide, and especially in Syria, with a stirring address.
Jolie criticised the current approach taken by world leaders to address the influx of refugees fleeing countries around the world.
“We should call this what it is: not just a refugee crisis, but a crisis of global security and governance, that is manifesting itself in the worst refugee crisis ever recorded and a time of mass displacement.”
Angelina Jolie and UNHCR chief Antonio Guterres visited a refugee camp in Mardin, Turkey yesterday, where thousands of Syrians are currently being held after fleeing from war-ravaged conditions.
Turkey takes on some of the highest-numbers of refugees around the world, with a reported 1.77 million refugees currently housed in camps throughout the country.
According to the ABC, the number of refugees worldwide—who have fled from their native countries due to war or dangerous conditions— now sits at an all-time high: a staggering 59.5 million. Beyond that, a record-breaking increase of refugees occurred in the 2013-2014 period, with an unprecedented increase of the refugee population by over 8 million.
In her speech, Angelina Jolie urged for world leaders to take action in the crisis, citing the tragedies of thousands dying at sea after attempting to flee.
“If you are an Iraqi or a Syrian fleeing violence, where do you go? Every border country is being pushed beyond its limits. That is why we see so many dying at sea. It is not a “new trend,” it is a result of those fleeing country after country and finding no safe place. These are not economic migrants looking for a better life, these are desperate refugees who are fleeing war and persecution. The average stay in a refugee camp is 17 years. Think of your own life. Think of what that would mean. For many, it is their entire childhood. During displacement you might be able to get an education, or continue your education. But very likely, you will not.
Yesterday, further allegations on the horrors present at the Australian off-shore detention centre in Nauru emerged, with a former social worker at Nauru claiming that a sordid trade between refugees and guards—wherein guards paid for, and filmed sexual acts—was frequently taking place.
Enough is enough. Seeking asylum is a human right.
Read Angelina Jolie’s powerful speech in full here.
Lead image by AFP via Getty.