Jolie discusses unaccompanied children with US senior officials
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 27 (UNHCR) - UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie has met with senior government officials in the American capital as a follow-up to her recent visit to unaccompanied children of asylum seekers in the United States.
Jolie was in Washington D.C. on Monday and Tuesday to meet with US Secretary of State Colin Powell and Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson, as well as to prepare for the World Refugee Day launch in June.
She briefed Secretary Thompson on her recent mission with UNHCR to Arizona, where she visited the Southwest Key Program, a shelter facility for unaccompanied children. She also thanked him for the progress his department has made, through the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), to provide more comfortable living conditions for these children.
The Goodwill Ambassador expressed concern that many of the children do not have access to attorneys when they go through the asylum process, and informed Secretary Thompson that she is working on a project with UNHCR and ORR to help address this issue. Details of this project are being finalised and will be officially announced at the World Refugee Day events in Washington, D.C.
Secretary Thompson thanked Jolie and said her offer to help is "remarkable and doesn't happen very often". The meeting was also attended by the Office of Global Affairs' David Smith, Assistant Secretary for Children and Families Wade Horn and ORR Director Dr. Nguyen Van Hanh.
While in Washington, the Goodwill Ambassador also met Secretary Powell at his Open Forum screening of "Trading Women", a documentary she narrated on the trading of girls and women from the hill tribes of Burma, Laos and China into the Thai sex industry.
Jolie will co-host the World Refugee Day launch with Secretary Powell on June 17, kicking off four days of activities ranging from an Afghan photo exhibition to music and dance performances, as well as a film screening.