Angelina Jolie-Pitt has been speaking as part of BBC’s World on the Move day. The event has seen the topic of migration be discussed by the UNHCR’s special envoy, Jolie-Pitt and former British secret intelligence chief Sir Richard Dearlove.
She spoke of the growing need to stand by refugees and their plight, amongst the hurtful and acerbic fear-mongering that is currently dominating world politics.
Jolie-Pitt warned that governments across the world are serving their people no justice by spreading fear and mistrust in regards to the refugee crisis.
She said that whilst the refugee crisis has revealed great triumphs in human decency and solidarity, both in Europe and across the globe, on the other hand, “fear of uncontrolled migration has eroded public confidence and the ability of governments and international institutions to control the situation.”
She continued, “It has given space to a false air of legitimacy to those who promote politics of fear and separation.”
Jolie-Pitt said that this dangerous sentiment had “created a race to the bottom” of “countries competing to be the toughest, in the hope of protecting themselves.”
This “race” was coming at the “cost or challenge to their neighbours, and despite their international responsibilities”.
She said the system put in place to protect these refugees is not working effectively to eradicate the issue and ensure the safety of those seeking asylum. The system, according to Jolie-Pitt is broken and is need of repair.
Jolie-Pitt shared with the audience an alarming figure: She said that “the average time a person will stay displaced is 20 years… 20 years in exile”
“The number of refugees returning to their homes is the lowest it’s been in three decades.
She also said that the UN agencies who are desperately trying to combat this are drastically underfunded and in need of more support than ever.
“With this then the state of today’s world, is it any surprise that some of these desperate people, who are running out of all options and who see no hope of returning home, would make a push for Europe as a last resort, even at the risk of death?”
At the same event, Jolie-Pitt was asked to comment on the current stance of presidential candidate Donald Trump.
When asked what her thoughts were on Trump’s staunch anti-Muslim policy, she responded with severe disapproval, saying “To me, America is built on people from around the world coming together for freedoms, especially freedom of religion. So it’s hard to hear this is coming from someone who is pressing to be an American president.
She urged world leaders and citizens to stand up and fight for what they know is right. Stressing international solidarity and a renewed sense of virtue – if the refugee crisis is to be brought under control.
“The question is how will we respond, as democracies, as an international community, to this major test of our values and our resolve?”