Angelina Jolie-Pitt, the UN refugee agency’s special
envoy, has warned that the international humanitarian
system for refugees is breaking down.
Ms Jolie-Pitt has been speaking as part of the BBC’s World
on the Move day of coverage of global migration issues.
She warned against a “fear of migration” and said that this
was a “once-in-a-generation moment when nations have to
Earlier, the UNHCR’s head said the refugee crisis was now a
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi told the
BBC that simply turning migrants away “won’t work”.
BBC News World On The Move is a day of coverage
dedicated to migration, and the effect it is having on our
A range of speakers, including the UNHCR’s special envoy
Angelina Jolie-Pitt, and former British secret intelligence
chief Sir Richard Dearlove, will set out the most important
new ideas shaping our thinking on economic development,
security and humanitarian assistance.
You can follow the discussion and reaction to it, with live
online coverage on the BBC News website.
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Ms Jolie-Pitt said that more than 60 million people – one in
122 – were displaced globally – more than at any time in the
past 70 years.
“This tells us something deeply worrying about the peace
and security of the world,” she said, adding: “The average
time a person will be displaced is now nearly 20 years.”
Ms Jolie-Pitt said the “number of conflicts and scale of
displacement had grown so large” the system to protect and
return refugees was not working.
She said that UN appeals were drastically under-funded.
“With this then the state of today’s world, is it any surprise
that some of these desperate people, who are running out
of all options and who see no hope of returning home,
would make a push for Europe as a last resort, even at the
risk of death?”
But Ms Jolie-Pitt said that Europe was “only a fraction of the
global refugee problem”.
Highlighting Turkey, Pakistan, Lebanon, Iran, Ethiopia, and
Jordan, she said: “We in the West are neither at the centre of
the refugee crisis, nor – for the most part – the ones making
the greatest sacrifice.”
She warned that amid a “fear of uncontrolled migration”
countries were “competing to be the toughest, in the hope of
protecting themselves whatever the cost or challenge to
their neighbours, and despite their international
Isolationism was not the answer, she said, adding: “If your
neighbour’s house is on fire you are not safe if you lock your
doors. Strength lies in being unafraid.
Urging the world to rally together, she said: “Whether we
succeed will help define this century… the alternative is
Earlier, Mr Grandi told the BBC migration was now a global
phenomenon needing a global response.
He said the burden of caring for refugees had so far fallen
“on a few countries that host hundreds of thousands of
refugees, usually those near wars, near conflicts and a few
donors that alone, seven or eight of them, give 80%-90%, of
He admitted a solution would require “a very long and
difficult discussion” but added: “There can’t simply be a
reaction whereby states shut down borders and push people
away simply because it won’t work.”
Child refugees need ‘new deal’ – Lyse Doucet, BBC chief
Save the Children is calling for greater international
commitment to ensure child refugees remain in school.
The charity’s new report, A New Deal for Refugees, says
only one in four refugee children is now enrolled in
It is calling on governments and aid agencies to adopt a new
policy framework that will ensure no refugee child remains
out of school for more than a month.
It is an ambitious target but there is growing concern that
this migration crisis is producing a lost generation of
children which means conditions for even greater insecurity
Are more people on the move?
Migrant crises through history
A note on terminology: The BBC uses the term migrant to
refer to all people on the move who have yet to complete
the legal process of claiming asylum. This group includes
people fleeing war-torn countries such as Syria, who are
likely to be granted refugee status, as well as people who
are seeking jobs and better lives, who governments are
likely to rule are economic migrants.