Angelina Jolie has said that it is sickening to see thousands of migrants drowning to death on the doorstep of Europe, the world's wealthiest continent.

Her comments came on Friday (24 April) as she briefed the United Nations Security Council on the Syrian refugee crisis where she addressed death of migrants in the Mediterranean who undertake the perilous journey from Africa to Europe.

"It is sickening to see thousands of refugees drowning on the doorstep of the world's wealthiest continent," Jolie said. "No one risks the lives of their children in this way except out of utter desperation."

"If we cannot end the conflict, we have an inescapable moral duty to help refugees and provide legal avenues to safety," she said.

Reacting to Jolie's remarks, the Syria's ambassador to the UN, Bashar Ja'afari, simply said: "She's beautiful."

So far this year, the Mediterranean has claimed 1,500 lives – 30 times more than at this point last year.

The refugees are travelling in overcrowded rubber dinghies and wooden boats. Many who have arrived safely have been found for ulcers and chemical burns from petrol that floods the boats' holds, amid other health issues.

Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has criticised politicians who have been blaming each other for the migrants' deaths.

The Lib Dem leader said it was "pretty distasteful to reduce this total human tragedy, hundreds of people dying in the Mediterranean, to a political point-scoring blame game".

Speaking about the crisis of migrant deaths, John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International's Director for Europe and Central Asia said: "Europe's negligence in failing to save thousands of migrants and refugees who run into peril in the Mediterranean has been akin to firefighters refusing to save people jumping from a towering inferno. Governments' responsibility must clearly be not only to put out the fire but to catch those who have stepped off the ledge."