Highlight maltreatment of stateless people, Hindus ask Angelina Jolie

Hindus have urged Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie to do something concrete to improve the plight of about 15 million stateless people worldwide who suffer rejection day after day.

Jolie, who is Goodwill Ambassador of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), should come out of her comfort zone and urgently highlight the maltreatment of stateless populations around the world, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed said.

Mr. Zed who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out that Jolie, whom he described as the world’s most powerful celebrity, would be very effective in focusing public opinion world over on the plight of stateless.

He recalled that many Hollywood and other entertainment bigwigs successfully worked against South Africa’s apartheid in the past.
Mr. Zed noted that access of stateless to health services, employment, education, property ownership and travel is severely restricted and they face detention and inability to obtain identity papers.  The stateless are also denied the most basic of rights and are vulnerable to trafficking, he added.
Mr. Zed stated that exclusionary policies, gender-discriminatory legislations, etc., which are at the root of many statelessness situations, should end.

He said something should be done urgently for stateless Roma in Europe, Myanmar Rohingyas, Kenya Nubians, ethnic Russians in Latvia and Estonia, Syrian Kurds, Kuwait Bedoun, children in Sabah (Malaysia), Dominicans of Haitian descent, Ivory Coast immigrants, unconfirmed nationals in Nepal, and ethnic hill tribes of Thailand.

Mr. Zed stressed that he was hopeful that Jolie would not stay apathetic and silent spectator while stateless people are reportedly facing blatant injustice and discrimination in the world.

It was a worthwhile cause for her to undertake and she needs to put more and serious efforts to highlight and improve the plight of this most invisible population of the world, Mr. Zed added.

Jolie, 36, is known for her refugee projects, conservation work and philanthropy. She has received Citizen of the World Award, Global Humanitarian Award, Freedom Award, etc.

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