Angelina Jolie-Pitt has said the fear of uncontrolled migration has created a culture whereby nations compete to be the toughest on immigration.
The UN refugee agency’s special envoy called for a global approach to tackling the migrant crisis, saying this was a “once-in-a-generation moment when nations have to pull together” and arguing against policies of isolationism.
Speaking as part of the BBC's World on the Move day of coverage of global migration issues, the 40-year-old actress and humanitarian warned against a growing politics of fear.
“Fear of uncontrolled migration has eroded public confidence and the ability of governments and international institutions to control the situation,” she said. “It has given space to a false air of legitimacy to those who promote politics of fear and separation”.
“It has created the risk of a race to the bottom with countries competing to be the toughest in the hope of protecting themselves whatever the cost or challenge to their neighbours, and despite their international responsibilities,“ she added.
Ms Jolie-Pitt warned against policies of isolationism, saying that no country can seal itself from the repercussions of the migrant crisis. “If your neighbour's house is on fire you are not safe if you lock your doors. Strength lies in being unafraid".
Ms Jolie-Pitt also argued the number of conflicts and scale of displacement has meant the infrastructure in place to support refugees has failed. She drew attention to the fact that more than 60 million people - one in 122 - were displaced globally – the most of any given time in the last 70 years.
“This tells us something deeply worrying about the peace and security of the world,” she said. “The average time a person will be displaced is now nearly 20 years.”
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