Image: Angelina Jolie seen with refugee children
Ho  /  Reuters
Actress and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie appears with Karenni refugee children in Thailand's Mae Hong Son Province, near the Thai-Myanmar border on February 4, 2009.
updated 2/11/2009 11:48:14 AM ET 2009-02-11T16:48:14

A senior Thai diplomat rebuked Hollywood star Angelina Jolie on Wednesday for speaking out on behalf of Muslim refugees from Myanmar.

Jolie — who is deeply involved in the plight of refugees in her capacity as a United Nations goodwill ambassador — called on the Thai government to respect the human rights of Myanmar's Rohingya "boat people" last week while touring a camp in northern Thailand for other refugees from the military-ruled nation.

The Rohingya, who are denied citizenship in their native land, have been trying to land in Thailand after treacherous sea journeys in recent months only to be towed back to sea and cast adrift by the Thai Navy.

Virasakdi Futrakul, permanent secretary of Thailand's foreign ministry, said Jolie's mission last week was to inspect a camp that houses refugees mostly from Myanmar's ethnic Karenni minority not deal with the Rohinyga.

"We probably have to warn UNHCR that they should not have comment on this because it was not the purpose of her visit," he said.

UNHCR spokeswoman Kitt McKinsey declined to comment on Virasakdi's remark.

"She was extremely touched by the plight of the Rohingya people. She expressed the hope that the human rights of the Rohingya people will be respected just as the human rights of everyone in the world should be respected," McKinsey said last week.

More on Angelina Jolie   |  Rohingya

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