UN refugee agency Goodwill Ambassador and international film star Angelina Jolie spent her Christmas with refugees in San Jose, Costa Rica.
According to the agency, Jolie arrived on Monday to visit a group of mostly Colombian refugee children and families, and to meet Costa Rican officials. There are about 11,500 refugees in this Central American country, most of whom fled Colombia because of the conflict there between leftist guerrillas, soldiers and paramilitary forces.
During her visit, Jolie said the conflict in Colombia is what she calls the “greatest humanitarian tragedy in the Western Hemisphere, but it receives very little international attention”.
“My Christmas message to Colombian refugees and to the millions of displaced people in Colombia is that the world has not totally forgotten them,’’ she added. 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 are often stigmatised, reports Perezhilton.com. “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 this 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 personal journal of her meetings with Colombian refugees in that country.