Angelina Jolie to UN: In Syria the Security Council has refused to use its powers to protect and defend the innocent

Addressing the UN Security Council yesterday, Angelina Jolie Pitt said: In 2011, the Syrian refugees I met were full of hope. They said “please, tell people what is happening to us”, trusting that the truth alone would guarantee international action.

When I returned, hope was turning into anger: the anger of the man who held his baby up to me, asking “is this a terrorist? Is my son a terrorist?”

On my last visit in February, anger had subsided into resignation, misery and the bitter question “why are we, the Syrian people, not worth saving?”

To be a Syrian caught up in this conflict is to be cut off from every law and principle designed to protect innocent life:

International humanitarian law prohibits torture, starvation, the targeting of schools and hospitals – but these crimes are happening every day in Syria.

The Security Council has powers to address these threats to international peace and security – but those powers lie unused.

The UN has adopted the Responsibility to Protect concept, saying that when a State cannot protect its people the international community will not stand by – but we are standing by, in Syria.

The problem is not lack of information – we know in excruciating detail what is happening in Yarmouk, in Aleppo and in Homs.

The problem is lack of political will.

We cannot look at Syria, and the evil that has arisen from the ashes of indecision, and think this is not the lowest point in the world’s inability to protect and defend the innocent. [Continue reading…]

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4 thoughts on “Angelina Jolie to UN: In Syria the Security Council has refused to use its powers to protect and defend the innocent

  1. TColwell

    If Angie is on the case, peace surely is on the way. Now if only Emma Watson could show up again at the UN, both Assad and ISIS would call it quits.

  2. Robert Fuller

    “Here all countries and all people are equal” according to Angelina Jolie on 24th April while addressing the United Nations, which is arrant nonsense because there are only five permanent members of the Security Council. Any one of these five permanent members, can veto any resolution of the Security Council. Seems the moderator wants thoughtful and relevant comments, but Jolie’s ignorance beggars belief!

  3. Paul Woodward

    Angelina Jolie became a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 2001 and since April 2012 has been Special Envoy of High Commissioner António Guterres. When appointed, a statement from UNHCR said:

    In her new role, she is expected to focus on large-scale crises resulting in the mass displacement of people, to undertake advocacy and represent UNHCR and Mr. Guterres at the diplomatic level, engaging with relevant interlocutors on global displacement issues. Ms. Jolie will focus on complex emergencies and will work to facilitate lasting solutions for people displaced by conflict.

    When addressing the Security Council on Friday, Jolie was speaking as a representative of UNHCR — not a representative of the U.S. government, the American people, or Hollywood.

    Celebrities who involve themselves in charity work inevitably draw scorn from cynics, but in Jolie’s case the evidence suggests that her commitment to humanitarian issues is serious — even if some observers can’t see past their own prejudices.

    “Here all countries and all people are equal,” she said. That’s called boilerplate and you’ll find similar examples in the remarks of any diplomat.

    Unless the focus of discussion was reform of the structure of the UN — which it was not — there would be no point appealing from action from the Security Council based on the assumption that in its current form, it is incapable of action.

    The comments here say nothing about the substance of Jolie’s statement about the plight of Syrians and a great deal about the small-mindedness of the commenters.

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