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Angelina Jolie becomes 'Time' magazine contributing editor

The 44-year-old actress' articles would feature in the publication each month on the magazine's global platforms.

FILE: US actress and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees special envoy Angelina Jolie at the UN in Geneva in March 2017. Picture: AFP

LONDON - Angelina Jolie has joined Time magazine as contributing editor.

The 44-year-old actress' articles would feature in the publication each month on the magazine's global platforms, and her pieces would focus "primarily on displacement, conflict and human rights".

Jolie has already penned her first article, entitled What We Owe Refugees, to mark World Refugee Day, in which she said refugees should be admired and she questioned why the word refugee has such negative connotations.

The Maleficent star - who has served as the Special Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) since 2012 - wrote: "At the first sign of armed conflict or persecution, the natural human response is to try to take your children out of harm's way. Threatened by bombs, mass rape or murder squads, people gather the little they can carry and seek safety. Refugees are people who've chosen to leave a conflict.

"They pull themselves and their families through war and often help rebuild their countries. These are qualities to be admired. Why then has the word refugee acquired such negative connotations in our times? Why are politicians being elected on promises to shut borders and turn back refugees?"

Jolie also highlighted the difference between migrants and refugees, insisting both deserve dignity and fair treatment.

She wrote: "Today the distinction between refugees and migrants has been blurred and politicised. Refugees have been forced to flee their country because of persecution, war or violence. Migrants have chosen to move, mainly to improve their lives. Some leaders deliberately use the terms refugee and migrant interchangeably, using hostile rhetoric that whips up fear against all outsiders.

"Everyone deserves dignity and fair treatment, but we need to be clear about the distinction. Under international law it is not an option to assist refugees, it is an obligation. It is perfectly possible to ensure strong border control and fair, humane immigration policies while meeting our responsibility to help refugees."

The Tomb Raider star has called for "leadership and effective diplomacy" in a bid for "long-term peace", after revealing the number of forcibly displaced people has risen from around 40 million to more than 70 million since she first began working with UNHCR 18 years ago.

She added: "As we mark World Refugee Day on 20 June, it is an illusion to think that any country can retreat behind its borders and simply hope the problem will go away. We need leadership and effective diplomacy. We need to focus on long-term peace based on justice, rights and accountability to enable refugees to return home. This is not a soft approach. It is the harder course of action, but it is the only one that will make a difference. The distance between us and the refugees of the past is shorter than we think."

In April, Jolie wrote an essay for Time calling for women in Afghanistan to be given full power in peace talks.

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