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Updated On: Tuesday, March 28 2017
Development Issues

Jolie Defends Internationalism

Content by: South-South News

16 March 2017, New York, USA | South-South News — Speaking at the United Nations in Geneva, Angelina Jolie, actor and the Special Envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said, "If governments and leaders are not keeping that flame of internationalism alive today, then we as citizens must.” Jolie has made an impassioned defense of internationalism, calling for people around the world to remain committed to human rights and to the values of the UN Charter.

She said "The challenge is how to restore that sense of balance and hopefulness in our countries, while not sacrificing all we have learnt about the value and necessity of internationalism," adding "because a world in which we turn our back on our global responsibilities will be a world that produces greater insecurity, violence and danger for us and for our children," she said.

Jolie spoke at annual event in commemoration of late Sérgio Vieira de Mello, who worked for the UN for more than three decades before being killed in 2003 in the Canal Hotel bombing in Baghdad, along with 20 other UN staff members.

She said, "Sergio was a man who never turned down an assignment, no matter how difficult and dangerous - or as others have put it, was 'handed one impossible task after another."

Jolie said the challenges of today’s world show "a level of conflict and insecurity that seems to exceed our will and capabilities: with more refugees than ever before, and new wars erupting on top of existing conflicts, some already lasting decades."

She added, "We see a rising tide of nationalism masquerading as patriotism, and the re-emergence of policies encouraging fear and hatred of others. We see some politicians elected partly on the basis of dismissing international institutions and agreements, as if our countries have not benefited from cooperation, but actually been harmed by it."

In the face of such trends, she said, it is important to realize that there is no shortcut to peace and security, and no substitute for the long, painstaking effort to end conflicts, expand human rights and strengthen the rule of law.

In a reference to increased criticism of multilateral diplomacy in the United States, Jolie stated, "I am a proud American and I am an internationalist. I believe anyone committed to human rights is an internationalist. It means seeing the world with a sense of fairness and humility, and recognizing our own humanity in the struggles of others."

She recalled that a strong nation, like a strong person, should help others to rise up and be independent.

Angelina Jolie represented UNHCR as a Goodwill Ambassador from 2001-2012, carrying out over 50 field missions and becoming an influential advocate on refugee and displacement matters. She was appointed Special Envoy in April 2012, an expanded role that allows her to focus on major crises that result in mass population displacements, undertaking advocacy and representing the High Commissioner for Refugees at the diplomatic level.

The Geneva-based Sérgio Vieira de Mello Foundation organizes an annual lecture on themes related to peace and human rights on or around his birthday. This year, the event was co-organized by Geneva's Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies and hosted by the United Nations in Geneva.

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