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Angelina Jolie Visits Refugees on Lesvos

Mytilini town, Lesvos. Photo © Koutrolm / Wikimedia Commons

Mytilini town, Lesvos. Photo © Koutrolm / Wikimedia Commons

US actress and UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Special Envoy Angelina Jolie Pitt on Thursday travelled to the Greek island of Lesvos and visited the Moria reception center. Lesvos sees the highest number of refugee sea arrivals in Greece.

The Special Envoy was informed about the screening process and visited refugee families staying in the center’s camp.

Angelina_JolieShe also visited the General Secretariat of Aegean and Island Policy where she met with members of non-governmental organizations and was informed of the situation on Lesvos.

“I have no hope that the refugee drama will end soon,” she was reported saying when departing from the General Secretariat.

During her visit she also spoke with island bodies who referred to the impact of the refugee crisis on the economy of Lesvos and the need to enhance the island’s tourist product.

Ms. Jolie-Pitt promised to holiday on the island with her family in the near future.

Following her visit to Lesvos, the Special Envoy is scheduled to depart immediately for London.

Ms. Jolie Pitt’s first visit to Greece on behalf of UNHCR began on Wednesday. Her mission was to concentrate on the humanitarian situation of thousands of refugee families in Greece.

“I am here to reinforce efforts by UNHCR and the Greek government to step up the emergency response to the deteriorating humanitarian situation”, Ms. Jolie-Pitt said in an earlier announcement on Wednesday.

UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie Pitt talks with Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Photo © UNHCR/L.Knott

UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie Pitt talks with Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Photo © UNHCR/L.Knott

The Special Envoy visited the Piraeus Port where some 4,000 refugees and migrants have found shelter in a makeshift camp. She then visited the refugee camp in Eleonas. On Wednesday evening she met with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at the Maximos Mansion.

The visit to Greece comes the day after the Special Envoy’s visit to Lebanon, on the 5th anniversary of the Syrian conflict, where she stressed the need for leadership and coordinated international action to address the root causes of the global refugee crisis.

As part of her visit, the Special Envoy reiterated UNHCR’s support to Greece in the expansion and coordination of protection and assistance to refugees, the strengthening of registration and asylum procedures, and the upholding of essential international protection and refugee law standards and the implementation of the EU relocation program.

Close to 85 percent of all the refugees and asylum seekers who have arrived in Europe landed in Greece since January 2015. Today, there are over 40,000 people in Greece who have arrived during the past weeks, who desperately need protection and humanitarian support.

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