Angelina Jolie defends UN, decries 'tide of nationalism'

Angelina Jolie arrives at the 20th annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards at the Hollywood Palladium on Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

Angelina Jolie has made a strong defense of the United Nations, saying the world body, as "imperfect" as it is, needs reform but also support.

The American actress and special envoy for the U.N. refugee agency decried a "rising tide of nationalism masquerading as populism, and the re-emergence of policies encouraging fear and hatred of others" during a speech at the U.N. in Geneva on Wednesday.

Saying she was speaking as a "proud American" and "an internationalist," Jolie said some politicians were elected "partly on the basis of dismissing international institutions and agreements."

She didn't mention President Donald Trump, amid concerns that the U.S. administration could cut crucial funding for the United Nations.

"We have to recognize the damage we do when we undermine the U.N., or use it selectively, or not at all," Jolie said. She said "there is not a single humanitarian appeal anywhere in the world that is funded by even by half of what is required."

Jolie addressed a ceremony honoring Sergio Vieira de Mello, the U.N. envoy to Iraq who died in a 2003 bombing attack in Baghdad, and cited his faith in the institution despite its shortcomings.

"The U.N. is an imperfect organization because we are imperfect. It is not separate from us," she said, adding that de Mello believed it should be "more decisive, less bureaucratic," but "he never said it was pointless and he never threw in the towel."
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