24 August 2010Hollywood actress and United Nations Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie used her recent visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina to call for practical and urgent steps to alleviate the plight of the 113,000 people who remain displaced in the country some 15 years after the end of the war. The conflict that lasted from 1992 to 1995 in Bosnia and Herzegovina forced more than 2.2 million people to flee their homes, making it the largest displacement of people in Europe since the end of the Second World War, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). To date, more than one million people have returned home across Bosnia, with UNHCR playing a major role in the return, reconstruction and reintegration process. However, there are still 113,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country, with some 7,000 still living in collective accommodation centres created more than 15 years ago and intended only as temporary housing. “The consequences of such a tragedy cannot be undone. However, we have a responsibility to do all in our power to reduce the pain by helping those who need assistance,” said Ms. Jolie, whose one-day visit on Saturday followed a similar one undertaken in April along with her partner and fellow actor, Brad Pitt.“In doing so, we contribute to overcoming divides and building a better future for all the people of the country,” she added. The acclaimed actress and activist, who met with the Chair of the Presidency, Haris Silajdžic, and Presidency member Željko Komšic during her visit, called for urgent measures to improve the lives of the displaced, many of whom are elderly or ill and are barely able to look after themselves. She added that she looked forward to returning to the region over the coming months to continue her work. In addition to the IDPs, UNHCR also provides support to some 7,000 refugees from Croatia and those members of the country’s Roma community who are at risk of statelessness.