While you were spending time with relatives opening presents, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were spending their Christmas holiday handing out gifts to refugees in San Jose, Costa Rica. The visit was part of Angelina Jolie’s work as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
“We had a wonderful Christmas both with the Costa Rican people and the Colombian refugee families we met,” Jolie said in a statement. Her visit was part of her work as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
About 11,500 refugees have come to Costa Rica, most of them from Colombia, where an armed conflict between leftist guerrillas, soldiers and paramilitary forces has forced them to flee, says the UNHCR. All told, an estimated 3 million Colombians have been forced from their homes.
“The conflict in Colombia is the greatest humanitarian tragedy in the Western Hemisphere, but it receives very little international attention,” Jolie said after her arrival in San Jose. “My Christmas message to Colombian refugees and to the millions of displaced people in Colombia is that the world has not totally forgotten them.”
More on Brangelina’s Costa Rican visit after the jump.
In San Jose, Jolie and Pitt dropped in on several small businesses established by refugees thanks to UNHCR economic initiatives. They also talked with young refugees, learning about the problems they and their families have faced.
“It’s been sad for me to hear so many negative stories that show confusion between refugees, who are the victims of the conflict, and some criminal elements,” Jolie said.