Angelina Jolie marked five years of conflict in Syria at a press conference outside an informal refugee settlement in Fayda, in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, today.
“I want to thank the Lebanese people for helping to save the lives of over 1 million Syrians,” she said. "It is not easy for a country to take in the equivalent of a quarter of its own population in refugees. But for as much as it is a responsibility, I hope you are aware of the message it sends about the values and character and spirit of the Lebanese people.
“You are setting an example to the world of generosity, humanity, resilience and solidarity.
“On behalf of UNHCR, and on my own behalf, shukran, thank you.
“We should never forget that for all the focus on the refugee situation in Europe at this time, the greatest pressure is still being felt in the Middle East and North Africa, as it has for each of the last five years.
“There are 4.8 million Syrian refugees in this region, and 6.5 million people displaced inside Syria.
“On this day, the 5th anniversary of the Syria conflict, that is where I had hoped I would be: in Syria, helping UNHCR with returns, and watching families I have come to know be able to go home. It is tragic and shameful that we seem to be so far from that point.
“We can do the right thing by refugees and build a more secure international environment. We can build order out of chaos. In my view it comes down to understanding the law, choosing not to be afraid, and showing political will.
“For the sake of the people of Syria, and for all the refugees around the world looking desperately to the international community to provide solutions, I hope we will do this.
“And I also hope that the 15th of March next year will finally herald a Syria at peace, and will be the beginning of a time of returns so that these refugees are able to fulfil their desire to go home.”
To read Angelina’s full speech, click here.