UN special envoy Angelina Jolie makes first visit to Myanmar

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

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