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Angelina Jolie Calls For Greater Focus On Reintegrating Afghan Refugees

Posted on Wed Mar 2, 2011 04:12 PM PDT


Actress slash political activist Angelina Jolie - a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for refugees - is currently in Kabul, Afghanistan calling for more focus on reintegrating the former Afghan refugees.

Jolie met with internally displaced people and refugee returnees struggling to reintegrate roughly ten years after returning to Afghanistan from exile.

Read Jolie's statement (released via the UNHCR) below:

    "It's clear traveling through the country that what needs to be done is a very focused approach in places of return. We need to revisit the idea of what return is and the difference between just returning and reintegrating.

    The focus needs to be put now on reintegration, and that means not just putting up shelter but making sure there is water, job opportunities, a school for the children and medical clinics."

Angelina Jolie last visited Afghanistan in 2008 when she met Khanum Gul and her children - now, Jolie reunited with Gul (see the above pic) and one of her kids, Samir. Jolie says:

    "It was very distressing to see that, because of the poor conditions, Samir seems to be suffering some form of developmental delay due to malnutrition or lack of medical care. He can't walk and is barely surviving in what can only be described as a very cold and damp warehouse"

Read what Jolie had to say about Gul's ailing 70-year-old mother, Bi Bi Zamo Jan, below the cut.

"This old woman was so upset, because she feels like a burden. She watches her grandchildren go onto the streets every day to wash cars for a dollar a day so the family can eat. Often they earn nothing. Everyone I have met on this visit has been very clear. The Afghan people don't want to become beggars. They want the opportunity to work for a living with dignity so they can provide for their families."



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