Angelina Jolie Pitt visits Myanmar

July 29, 2015

Angelina Jolie Pitt visits Myanmar to learn more about the situation in the country and encourage efforts to build a peaceful and inclusive future for all its people.

Angelina Jolie Pitt has arrived in Myanmar, for her first visit to the country.

The four-day visit will encompass both challenges arising from the legacy of conflict, and issues that will help determine the future of the country.

Angelina Jolie Pitt will carry out engagements in her capacity as Co-Founder of the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative, and as UNHCR Special Envoy will carry out field visits to displaced people in Myanmar’s conflict-affected states.

“I am looking forward to meeting with many people including women’s groups, civil society, displaced people and youth, to learn firsthand from them about their concerns and hopes for the future of their country. With elections on the horizon in November it is an important moment for people to exercise their democratic rights and help to address the fundamental issues critical to a peaceful future,“ said Angelina.

She will meet local people who are working on human rights and inter-faith relations, and groups carrying out projects to promote women’s rights, voter education and participation ahead of the forthcoming elections. She will also meet the President and members of the government.

Angelina Jolie Pitt has been following the situation in Myanmar closely since her first visit to Myanmar refugees in Thailand in 2002, and her many subsequent visits to the region to focus on these issues.

The visit follows a personal invitation from Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Angelina has been in contact with Daw Suu since their first exchanges around the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in London in June 2014.

She arrived in Burma from Cambodia, where she was visiting health, education and conservation projects funded by the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation since 2003, and beginning preparations to direct the film First They Killed My Father based on a child’s experience of the years of turmoil in the country.

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(President U Thein Sein welcomes United Nations’ goodwill ambassador Angelina Jolie.)

United Nations’ goodwill ambassador Angelina Jolie began an official visit Wednesday to Myanmar, meeting President U Thein Sein at the Presidential Palace in Nay Pyi Taw. During the meeting, they discussed human rights, women’s affairs and the prevention of sexual violence against women in conflicts. The president and the Oscar-winning actress also spoke about measures to improve children’s access to education. According to a press release issued by the British Embassy in Yangon, Ms Jolie is visiting Myanmar for four days “to learn more about the situation in the country and encourage efforts to build a peaceful and inclusive future for all its people.” Ms Jolie was quoted in the press release as saying she would meet many groups of people in Myanmar “to learn firsthand from them about their concerns and hopes for the future of their country.” “With elections on the horizon in November it is an important moment for people to exercise their democratic rights and help to address the fundamental issues critical to a peaceful future,” she said. During her first visit to Myanmar, Ms Jolie also held talks with Thura U Shwe Mann, the Speaker of Pyithu Hluttaw, on the role of Myanmar parliament in implementing tasks of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
She also met with Union Minister for Defence Lt-Gen Wai Lwin and discussed prevention of sexual violence and recruitment of minors as soldiers. Ms Jolie is said to be planning visits to refugee camps in Sittwe, Rakhine State, on Thursday, and camps of internally displaced people in Myitkyina, Kachin State, on Friday. She will meet with non-governmental organizations in Yangon on Friday afternoon. Ms Jolie arrived in Myanmar from Cambodia, where she inspected health, education and conservation projects funded by the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation since 2003, and beginning preparations to direct the film First They Killed My Father, based on a child’s experience of the years of turmoil in Cambodia. Last year, Ms Jolie visited Karenni refugees at a Thai-Myanmar border camp in Thailand’s Mae Hong Son province as a special envoy for the UNHCR.