Jolie, UNHCR head visit island swamped by migrants

June 19, 2011 - 4:29 AM
People Angelina Jolie

In this publicity image released by UNHCR, actress and goodwill ambassador for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Angelina Jolie, meets with young refugees, Friday, June 17, 2011, during a visit to the Altinozu refugee camp in Turkey. Jolie met with Syrian refugees who have fled their government's bloody crackdown. (AP Photo/UNHCR, Jason Tanner) MANDATORY CREDIT. NO SALES. ARCHIVE OUT.

LAMPEDUSA, Italy (AP) — The tiny Italian island of Lampedusa, which has been overwhelmed in recent months by refugees fleeing Tunisia and Libya, is getting some VIP visitors: U.N. envoy Angelina Jolie and the U.N. refugee chief.

Refugee chief Antonio Guterres arrived in Lampedusa on Sunday a few hours ahead of Jolie, who last week traveled to Turkey's border with Syria to meet some of the thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing the conflict there.

Guterres has thanked Lampedusa residents for welcoming the migrants and urged Europe to continue keeping its doors open.

He says the debate raging in Europe about immigration "doesn't correspond to the reality" given that the number of migrants who have actually arrived is tiny compared to the numbers who have gone elsewhere.