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Angelina Jolie leaves role as UN refugee agency envoy

December 16, 2022 Associated Press
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Angelina Jolie and the United Nations’ refugee agency are parting ways after more than two decades.

In a joint statement issued Friday, the actress and the agency announced she was “moving on” from her role as the agency’s special envoy “to engage on a broader set of humanitarian and human rights issues.”

“I will continue to do everything in my power in the years to come to support refugees and other displaced people,” Jolie was quoted as saying in the joint statement, adding that she felt it was time “to work differently” by directly engaging with refugees and local organizations.

Jolie first started working with the U.N. refugee agency in 2001 and was appointed its special envoy in 2012. The release described her as “carrying out more than 60 field missions to bear witness to stories of suffering as well as hope and resilience,” most recently traveling to Burkina Faso.

“After a long and successful time with UNHCR, I appreciate her desire to shift her engagement and support her decision,” U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi was quoted as saying. “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.”

In an opinion piece published in The Guardian last month, Jolie alluded to frustration with the lack of global progress in ending sexual violence in conflict.

“We meet and discuss these horrors and agree that they should never be allowed to happen again. We promise to draw — and to hold — that line. But when it comes to hard choices about how to implement these promises, we run into the same problems time and again,” she wrote, specifically calling out U.N. Security Council members for “abusing their veto power.”

Jolie began visiting refugee camps in 2001, and was appointed as a UNHCR goodwill ambassador that same year. At the time, the then-high commissioner said he hoped the then-26-year-old actress could direct young people’s attention to the plight of refugees.

In response to a request for additional comment, the agency declined to offer further details, including whether they would appoint another special envoy to replace Jolie.

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