A very Jolie Christ­mas

Townsville Bulletin - - Who’s Who -


An­gelina Jolie has spent Christ­mas Day with mainly Colom­bian refugees in San Jose, Costa Rica, as part of her work as a good­will am­bas­sador for the United Na­tions High Com­mis­sioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Jolie ar­rived in Costa Rica on Christ­mas Day and was to visit a group of refugee chil­dren and fam­i­lies and to meet Costa Ri­can of­fi­cials, UNHCR said. There are about 11,500 refugees in the Cen­tral Amer­i­can coun­try, most of whom fled Colom­bia be­cause of the con­flict there be­tween left­ist guer­ril­las, sol­diers and paramil­i­tary forces. ‘‘The con­flict in Colom­bia is the great­est hu­man­i­tar­ian tragedy in the West­ern Hemi­sphere, but it re­ceives very lit­tle in­ter­na­tional at­ten­tion,’’ the Os­car-win­ning ac­tress said af­ter she ar­rived in San Jose. ‘‘My Christ­mas mes­sage to Colom­bian refugees and to the mil­lions of dis­placed peo­ple in Colom­bia is that the world has not forgotten them.’’ An es­ti­mated three mil­lion Colom­bians have been forced from their homes by more than two decades of armed con­flict, and most are in­ter­nally dis­placed, es­sen­tially refugees in their own coun­try. An­other 500,000 have fled to other coun­tries in the re­gion.To­gether, the press state­ment said, they make up the largest sin­gle pop­u­la­tion of con­cern to UNHCR any­where in the world. Jolie will visit sev­eral small busi­nesses set up by refugees in San Jose with help from mi­cro-loans from the UN agency. She also called for greater ac­cep­tance of refugees, who were of­ten stig­ma­tised. ‘‘The best present we can give refugees is of­ten a lit­tle more un­der­stand­ing and good will, not just at Christ­mas but all year long,’’ she said.UNHCR said it was Jolie’s sec­ond trip to the re­gion since she be­came a good­will am­bas­sador for the refugee agency in 2001, not­ing that she went to Ecuador in 2002 and later wrote a jour­nal of her meet­ings with Colom­bian refugees.

MEAN­ING­FUL . . . (above and far left) An­gelina Jolie and Brad Pitt meet refugee fam­i­lies in Costa Rica on Christ­mas Day

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