Angelina Jolie revisits Myanmar refugees on World Refugee Day
UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie visits ethnic Karenni refugee Baw Meh, age 75, and her family from Myanmar, in Ban Mai Nai Soi refugee camp. The camp is located approximately two kilometers from the Thai-Myanmar border. UNHCR/R. Arnold/June 20, 2014
UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie spent this year’s World Refugee Day with Karenni refugees from Myanmar – one of the longest-running refugee situations in the world.
On her fourth visit to the refugee camps in Thailand, she met Baw Meh’s family, three generations of refugees who have lived in Ban Mai Nai Soi camp since 1996. The family told Jolie they fled Myanmar’s Kayah state thinking they would return home shortly. Eighteen years later, they are still here.
Baw Meh, 75, lost her husband last year. He died before he could fulfill his dream of returning home. Some of their children and grandchildren have been resettled to third countries. Others have chosen to stay. Baw Meh has refused to go, preferring to stay close to her village. Like many refugees along the border, her family is watching the reform process in Myanmar closely. As they mull the prospect of eventual return, Jolie had a strong message for them: “At the end of the day, you will need to make the choices that are right for your families. UNHCR is here to listen to you, to guide you, and to help you prepare for life beyond the camps.”
watch her video here