Angelina Jolie announced on Friday that she would be stepping down from her role as the UNHCR’s special envoy after more than 20 years of working with the refugee agency. The Hollywood actress has carried out more than 60 field missions with UNHCR, shining a spotlight on the plight of millions of people displaced from their homes over the past two decades. “After 20 years working within the UN system, I feel it is time for me to work differently, engaging directly with refugees and local organisations, and supporting their advocacy for solutions,” Jolie said in a statement. “I will continue to do everything in my power in the years to come to support refugees and other displaced people.”
UNHCR called her one of the most influential proponents of refugee rights, bringing international attention to underfunded humanitarian emergencies. The Oscar-winning star has worked with UNHCR since 2001 and became a special envoy in 2012. In this expanded role, she built awareness and support for refugees and called for urgent solutions for people forced to flee their homes, UNHCR said. Jolie has “worked tirelessly … to bear witness to stories of suffering as well as hope and resilience”, the Geneva-based agency said. In October, she travelled to Pakistan to meet people affected by devastating floods that killed more than 1,400 people. Experts have said the heavier-than-usual monsoon rains that caused the floods were triggered by climate change.
This is a real wake-up call to the world about where we’re at,” she said at the time. “Climate change is not only real and it’s not only coming, it’s very much here.” During a visit to Yemen in March, Jolie visited families displaced by the country’s civil war, which has been raging since 2015. The war has claimed more than 370,000 lives, directly and indirectly, the UN says, and has caused widespread suffering, with four fifths of Yemen’s 30 million people needing aid. “We urgently need to find solutions that enable conflicts to be addressed and displaced people to be able to return home in dignity and safety,” she said. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Jolie visited the hard-hit city of Lviv, meeting displaced people and those who are trying to help them.
UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi said of Jolie: “We are grateful for her decades of service, her commitment, and the difference she has made for refugees and people forced to flee. “After a long and successful time with UNHCR, I appreciate her desire to shift her engagement and support her decision. “I know the refugee cause will remain close to her heart, and I am certain she will bring the same passion and attention to a wider humanitarian portfolio.” Jolie is a well-respected actress in Hollywood, garnering numerous awards and accolades for her performances in films such as Girl, Interrupted, Changeling and A Mighty Heart. AFP

Share On Social Media