Jolie Chastised By Thai Government
Angelina Jolie has sparked outrage with Thai officials after remarking on the plight of Myanmar migrants, who have accused the country's military of mistreating them.
The actress and her partner Brad Pitt visited a refugee camp on the Thai-Myanmar border last week (04Feb09) as part of her role as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations (U.N.). She subsequently issued an emotive plea to the Thai government, urging authorities to respect the rights of the Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic group from Myanmar.
Jolie asked the Thai government to be "just as generous to the Rohingya refugees who are now arriving on their shores" as they were to the Ban Mai Nai Soi camp's 18,000 other refugees from Myanmar. The Thai army has been accused of detaining and torturing hundreds of Rohingya who, in recent months, fled to Thailand to escape poverty in Myanmar.
But officials in the Southeast Asian country have now chastised Jolie for her comments, insisting the United Nations refugee agency should not have allowed the star to visit the centre.
Virasakdi Futrakul, permanent secretary of the Thai foreign ministry, says, "Angelina was not focused on the Rohingya, but was visiting Myanmar refugee camps. It was a coincidence that the Rohingya was a hot news issue at the time, therefore we must warn (U.N. refugee agency) UNHCR that they should not comment on this issue because they have no mandate on this issue. The Thai government will issue a reprimand letter to UNHCR asking why it allowed Angelina Jolie to visit the refugee camps."
A representative for UNHCR claims that the Thai Ministry of Interior issued camp passes for both Jolie and Pitt. (PAW/WNWCAG/LR)
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