MARDIN, Turkey (AP) — After visiting a camp for Syrian refugees in southeastern Turkey on Saturday, actress Angelina Jolie said the world is living through an era of mass displacement.
Jolie, reading from a prepared speech alongside United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees Antonio Guterres, told journalists that “never before have so many people been dispossessed or stripped of their human rights.”
Jolie’s visit is the latest in a series of visits to Turkey as part of her work as the UNHCR’s special envoy. It is meant to bring attention to the plight of refugees, whose number has reached a record 60 million worldwide, according to the U.N.
As numbers increase, many countries are scrambling to find ways to close their doors to the new arrivals. Hungary recently announced plans to build a 4-meter (13-foot) high fence on the border with Serbia to stop the flow of migrants from Asia and Africa, and anti-immigrant sentiment has flared elsewhere in Europe.
Jolie spoke of the problem in general terms.
“People are running out of places to run to,” she said, emphasizing “the need to be open and tolerant to people … who may not be able to return home.”
Turkey now officially hosts the world’s largest refugee community — about 1.6 million, according the latest U.N. figures. As the war in neighboring Syria rages into its fifth year, the flow shows no sign of abating.
“We don’t know how many more will be coming,” said Fuat Oktay, the chief of Turkey’s disaster and emergency agency. “There’s a huge risk that the number might increase.”