Angelina Jolie on the Syrian humanitarian situation

Excerpts of speech by Angelina Jolie Pitt, UNHCR Special Envoy for Refugee Issues, before the United Nations Security Council :

Since the Syria conflict began in 2011, I have made eleven visits to Syrian refugees in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Malta.

I think of the mother I met recently in a camp in Iraq. She could tell you what it is like to try to live after your young daughter was ripped from your family by armed men, and taken as a sex slave.

I think of Hala, one of six orphaned children living in a tent in Lebanon. She could tell you what it is like to share the responsibility for feeding your family at the age of 11, because your mother died in an air strike and your father is missing.

I think of Dr Ayman, a doctor from Aleppo, who watched his wife and three year-old daughter drown in the Mediterranean when a smugglers’ boat collapsed packed with hundreds of people. He could tell you what it is like to try to keep your loved ones safe in a warzone, only to lose them in a desperate bid for safety after all other options have failed.

These are some of nearly four million Syrian refugees who are victims of a conflict they have no part in. Yet they are stigmatized, unwanted, and regarded as a burden.

On my last visit in February, anger had subsided into resignation, misery and the bitter question “why are we, the Syrian people, not worth saving?”

[Read full speech]

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