Angelina Jolie, who is in Bangladesh to speak on the exodus of the Rohingya Muslims refugees urged Myanmar to show a ‘genuine commitment’ to end violence and displacement in its Rakhine state that has driven hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims into neighboring Bangladesh.
Jolie is visiting for three days before launching a global appeal for $920 million, chiefly to support the refugees’ needs for 2019. The US envoy for refugees made the comments on the second day of emotional meetings with Rohingya, including rape survivors, in Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar district where some 740,000 Rohingya have taken refuge since August 2017.
“It was deeply upsetting to meet the families who have only known persecution and statelessness their whole lives, who speak of being treated like cattle,” she told reporters at the Kutupalong refugee camp.
Jolie added: “They have been denied their most basic human right: citizenship in their country of birth. And some still won’t even call the Rohingya by their rightful name.”
She thanked Bangladesh for hosting the refugees despite its own over-population further urging the international community to provide more resources for the refugees.
“Bangladesh is a generous country rich in culture and history, but with limited resources. And it cannot be left to shoulder the responsibility of hosting Rohingya refugees alone,” she said.
Jolie said Myanmar must ensure safety for the Rohingya to return home.
“They have an absolute right to return home, but only when they feel safe enough to do so voluntarily and they know that their rights will be respected,” she said.
The actor pleaded to end the violence in Rakhine, which UN officials have compared to genocide, also demanding immediate action against the perpetrators.
"I urge the Myanmar authorities to show the genuine commitment needed to end the cycle of violence and displacement and improve the conditions for all communities in Rakhine state," she said.
Jolie has previously met with displaced Rohingya while in Myanmar in July 2015 and in India in 2006.
Jolie will conclude her visit on Wednesday after meeting Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen, and other senior officials in Dhaka, a UN statement said.