VIDEO-Angelina Jolie slams U.N., says Syrian refugee crisis is 'sickening'

What's This?

Actress Angelina Jolie speaks at the United Nations on the issue of the ongoing refugee crisis in Syria on April 24, 2015, in New York, NY.

Image: Anthony Behar/Associated Press

By Megan Specia2015-04-24 21:06:23 UTC

Angelina Jolie slammed the U.N. for failing Syrian refugees during a briefing to the Security Council on Friday.

"We cannot look at Syria, and the evil that has arisen from the ashes of indecision, and think this is not the lowest point in the world's inability to protect and defend the innocent," Jolie, a U.N. special envoy for refugees, told the council.

Jolie has travelled to the region 11 times since Syria's civil war began in 2011. Close to 4 million Syrians have fled the country and are living as refugees in the region and abroad.

"Nearly 4 million Syrian refugees are victims of a conflict they have no part in, yet they are stigmatized, unwanted, and regarded as a burden," Jolie added.

Jolie spoke of the reality faced by those on the ground in Syria, saying that while international humanitarian law prohibits torture, starvation and the targeting of schools and hospitals, "these crimes are happening every day" in the country.

"The Security Council has powers to address these threats to international peace and security but those powers lie unused," Jolie said. "The UN has adopted the responsibility to protect concept — saying that when a state cannot protect its people the international community will not stand by, but we are standing by in Syria."

She also weighed in on the ongoing migrant crisis in the Mediterranean, compounded in part because of thousands of Syrian refugees making the risky journey to escape violence in their home country and seek asylum in Europe. In 2014, Syrian citizens comprised the majority of the migrants making the dangerous crossing across the central Mediterranean, according to the EU border agency program Frontex.

"It is sickening to see thousands of refugees drowning on the doorstep of the world’s wealthiest content," said Jolie. "No one risks the lives of their children in this way except out of utter desperation."

She said the world was obligated to provide asylum for those fleeing the violence. Strict quotes on those seeking asylum in many European nations has driven some refugees to seek alternative routes to the continent.

"If we cannot end the conflict we have an inescapable moral duty to help refugees and provide legal avenues to safety."

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Topics: Angelina Jolie, Middle East, un security council, World