Agence France – Presse and the Associated Press report that actress Angelina Jolie has been criticized by senior officials in Thailand for remarks she made while touring refugee camps in the country.
Jolie is a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations. Jolie and her partner Brad Pitt were visiting a refugee camp on the Thai-Myanmar border when she made her remarks.
AFP reports: While touring the northern Ban Mai Nai Soi camp home to 18,000 refugees from Myanmar, Jolie said she hoped Thailand would be “just as generous to the Rohingya refugees who are now arriving on their shores.”
Background: Members of the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network, a civil society network committed to advancing the rights of refugees in the Asia Pacific Region, urge better treatment for ‘Boat People’ in Asia. Over the past two years, the number of people leaving Bangladesh and Burma by boat for Southeast Asia has grown. They have fled in search of protection, safety and/or work. Most are Rohingyas, a Muslim minority from western Burma.
Over the past few weeks, several boats have been rescued off the coasts of Indonesia and the Andaman Islands of India. Survivors tell of having been detained in Thailand, beaten, and towed out to sea on boats without engines or sufficient food and water. Several hundred remain missing and are feared dead. The Rohingya have been rendered stateless in Burma and have experienced systematic discrimination, exclusion, and human rights violations in Burma for decades, prompting hundreds of thousands to seek refuge in neighboring countries, most notably Bangladesh, Malaysia and Thailand. Most are without legal status and are vulnerable to arrest, imprisonment, detention and deportation.