UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie on Sunday arrived in Gudebo camp in northeastern Burkina Faso to provide support to thousands of Malian refugees who have fled jihadist violence, AFP has seen.
The American star arrived at the camp by helicopter, accompanied by Burkina Faso’s Foreign Minister Alpha Barry, to celebrate World Refugee Day, which is marked annually on June 20.
“I celebrate this day every year with refugees in different countries, and I’ve never been more concerned about the state of displacement in the world than I am today,” Jolie said after her visit to the vast camp.
“The truth is that we are not doing half of what we can and should do to find solutions to allow refugees to return home or to support host countries,” she added, calling for support for countries hosting refugees such as Burkina Faso.
In March 2020, after a new attack on the security center of this camp, which housed up to 9,000 refugees, the refugees who remained there after previous attacks were also forced to flee, causing the closure of Gudebo.
But since December, the Burkina Faso authorities and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees have returned refugees to this camp, after strengthening the security system through the deployment of additional military personnel and the conduct of more patrols.
Between December and June, about 11,000 people from cities in northern Burkina Faso returned to Gudebo, according to UNHCR.
The refugee representative in Gudebo, Anadine Ag Mohamed, said that refugees are suffering “because the security situation is deteriorating day by day despite the efforts of the Burkina Faso authorities, their partners and defense and security forces in the Sahel.”