Angelina Jolie has been in Dohuk, Iraq, visiting Syrian refugees and displaced Iraqi citizens in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq to offer support to 3.3 million displaced people in the country.
Since Angelina Jolie’s last visit to Iraq in September 2012, the scale and gravity of the humanitarian situation have increased dramatically, as the conflicts in Syria and Iraq intensify and become intertwined.
“Since I was last here in Iraq, another 2 million people have been forced from their homes, mostly in the last six months – this time Iraqi citizens.”
“The spill-over from the Syria conflict has been devastating. The brutality of the conflict and speed and scale of the displacement has shocked the world. Help has come, but not nearly enough.”
As a result of the escalating violence and precipitating security situation in the region, 3.3 million remained displaced throughout the country and an estimated 330,000 people still lived in sub-standard shelters as they face their first winter away from home.
During her visit to Khanke, the Special Envoy met with Iraqi IDPs as well as elderly women who were among the 196 Yazidis recently released by insurgents. The camp is currently hosting more than 20,000 people from the Yazidi minority who fled Sinjar, in Iraq's Nineveh province, in early August as militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) advanced against Government forces.
The women recounted their ordeal of kidnap, detention, escape, and release. Angelina Jolie listened to the stories of extreme hardship and loss, including from people who still have sons, husbands and daughters detained, and others who had heard their daughters were moved to Syria. Others had lost all contact with their loved ones and had no idea of their fate.
“Nothing can prepare you for the horrific stories of these survivors of kidnap, abuse and exploitation and to see how they cannot all get the urgent help they need and deserve. The needs so dramatically outstrip the resources available in this vast crisis. Much more international assistance is needed.”
“I am very thankful to the Kurdish authorities for hosting so many displaced Iraqis alongside Syrian refugees at a time when they are facing so many challenges,” the Special Envoy said.
Angelina Jolie has been on her fifth visit to Iraq and her sixth visit to Syrian refugees in the region.
“Too many innocent people are paying the price of the conflict in Syria and spread of extremism,” Ms Jolie said wrapping up the first day of her two-day visit to Iraq. “I express my deepest sympathy to the family of Haruna Yukawa the Japanese hostage reportedly murdered in Syria on Saturday, and to all the families and victims of these vile and extreme acts.”
More than 3.8 million Syrians have fled to the neighbouring states of Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. Another 7.6 million Syrians are displaced inside the country.
There are some 3.1 million internally displaced Iraqis throughout the country, including a million who had been displaced between 2003 and 2013 and 2.1 million who were displaced in 2014.