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Jolie Asks Thailand to Give Burmese Refugees More Freedom


The United Nations says U.S. film actress Angelina Jolie toured one of the many camps in northern Thailand housing hundreds of thousands of refugees from Burma.

Jolie visited the Ban Mai Nai Soi camp Wednesday in her role as goodwill ambassador for the U.N. High Commissioner of Refugees. The camp is home to more than 18,000 ethnic Karenni refugees.

The Academy Award-winning actress told the U.N. news service she spoke to a 21-year-old woman who was born in the camp, has never left, and is raising her own child in the camp.

Jolie says there must be a way to help the refugees "work and become self-reliant."

The plight of Burmese refugees in Thailand has come under increased scrutiny since reports surfaced that ethnic Rohingya refugees have been intercepted by the Thai military and returned to the open sea.

The Rohingya -- an ethnic and Muslim minority in mostly Buddhist Burma -- claim they face repression at the hand of Burmese military authorities. About 20,000 are believed to live illegally in Thailand, and up to 230,000 in Bangladesh.

Jolie says she hopes the Thai government will be just as generous to the Rohingya migrants as it is to other ethnic Burmese refugees.

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