GENEVA – Angelina Jolie says it is shocking that refugees are being turned into hate figures in rich countries in an attempt to win elections or sell newspapers.
"It's a scandal, really, in such a rich world, that we are not even finding a way to help feed refugee families properly," Jolie wrote in an op-ed piece released this week in Refugees, a quarterly magazine published by the U.N. refugee agency.
She said Europeans, who only six decades ago were confronted by 40 million refugees in the aftermath of World War II, have turned their backs on victims of tyrannical regimes. Jolie also criticized Americans and Australians for failing to improve the situation of the many migrants who have died trying to emigrate to their countries.
"We will put Band-Aids over the most gaping wounds because they look a bit ugly," even as UNHCR battles to meet funding requirements for its annual programs helping 20 million people, Jolie said.
"Agencies like UNHCR should not really have to struggle to scrape a few tens of millions of dollars together to help rebuild shattered nations — like Angola, Sierra Leone, Liberia and south Sudan," Jolie said. "But we won't pay for a full cure."
Jolie, who has made over 30 missions for the agency since becoming goodwill ambassador in 2001, described her shock over a photo printed in an edition of Refugees earlier this year capturing a couple bathing on a beach while disregarding a black man washed ashore.
"They can't see the stark reality lying a few yards further up the beach," she wrote. "We are all — myself included — behaving like the couple sitting under their umbrella on the beach, gazing studiously out to sea."