Thailand criticises Jolie for remarks on Myanmar refugees

February 12th, 2009 - 12:31 am ICT by IANS  

Angelina JolieLondon, Feb 11 (IANS) Hollywood star Angelina Jolie has upset 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 Thailand-Myanmar border Feb 4 as part of her role as UN goodwill ambassador, reports

She subsequently issued an emotive plea to the Thai government, urging authorities to respect the rights of the Rohingyas, 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”.

The Thai army has been accused of detaining and torturing hundreds of Rohingyas who in recent months have fled to Thailand to escape poverty in Myanmar, the website said.

Officials in Thailand have chastised Jolie for her comments, insisting that the UN refugee agency should not have allowed the star to visit the centre.

Said Virasakdi Futrakul, permanent secretary of the Thai foreign ministry: “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 UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees) 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,” he added.

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