Angelina Jolie is visiting the world’s largest refugee settlement, home to hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims, in Bangladesh.
The Hollywood star and humanitarian arrived on Monday and is to spend three days assessing the needs of the refugees and the “critical challenges” the country faces as it hosts them, according to the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR.
More than 730,000 Rohingya are living in camps in Bangladesh after fleeing the mainly Buddhist country of Myanmar, formerly Burma, 18 months ago in the wake of an army crackdown which UN investigators described as “ethnic cleansing”.
Jolie, 43, has spent time at a school and a hospital, and is also set to meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the foreign finister, AK Abdul Momen.
It comes ahead of a UN funding appeal for $920m (£705m) to help meet the basic needs of the refugees living in the camps.
Jolie, a special envoy for the organisation, will hold talks which focus on “the need for safe and sustainable solutions to the plight of one of the world’s most persecuted minorities, the Rohingya”, a UNHCR spokesman said.
In a statement about the visit, the UNHCR said: “Angelina Jolie, the special envoy for UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, is visiting Bangladesh this week.
“Jolie is undertaking a three-day mission to assess the humanitarian needs of the Rohingya refugees and some of the more critical challenges facing Bangladesh as a host country.”
While this is Jolie’s first visit to Bangladesh, the star has met Rohingya refugees before, in Myanmar in 2015 and India in 2006.
The Refugee, Relief and Repatriation Commission (RRRC), a government organisation created to deal with the Rohingya crisis, welcomed Jolie’s visit.
“(Jolie) will definitely have a message to take back from here. We hope that the humanitarian community understands the kind of crisis the Rohingya are in through her,” said RRRC commissioner Abul Kalam.