Angelina Jolie separates from UNHCR, citing desire to ‘work differently’


Angelina Jolie, perhaps the world’s highest-profile refugee advocate, is withdrawing from her role as special envoy for the United Nations refugee agency, citing a desire to “work differently” outside the United Nations. United.

“After 20 years working in the UN system, I feel it is time to work differently, engaging directly with refugees and local organizations, and supporting their advocacy for solutions,” he said in a statement. joint declaration with the agency, posted Friday.

The Academy Award-winning megastar has worked with UNHCR for more than 20 years and has served as a special envoy since 2012. That role has taken her to countries like Lebanon, Yemen and Burkina Faso to meet with displaced people and draw attention to some one of the world’s worst humanitarian problems. her crisis On her Instagram account, which has more than 14 million followers, she posts about Syrian refugees and people displaced by the war in Ukraine.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, praised Jolie as an “important humanitarian partner” for the agency.

“We are grateful for your decades of service, your commitment and the difference you have made for refugees and people forced to flee,” he said in the statement on Friday. “After a long and successful time with UNHCR, I appreciate your desire to change your commitment and support your decision.”

Jolie, according to the announcement, intends to focus on a broader range of humanitarian issues, though she added: “I will continue to do everything in my power in the coming years to support refugees and other displaced people.”

In recent years, Jolie has increasingly criticized international institutions and world leaders’ approach to conflict and humanitarian crises.

During a visit last year to the Goudebou refugee camp in Burkina Faso, which hosts refugees from the armed conflict in northern Mali, Jolie damned the failure of world leaders to adequately assist the more than 82 million forcibly displaced people in the world at that time.

“The way that we as an international community try to deal with conflict and insecurity is broken,” he said. “It is erratic, it is unequal, it is based on inherited privileges, it is subject to the whim of political leaders and it is oriented towards the interests of powerful countries, including my own, at the expense of others.”

Jolie lamented the relative apathy of world leaders for the “crimes committed against the women and children of Burkina Faso, Yemen, Myanmar or Ethiopia, for example.”

It also appears to be increasingly disillusioned with the United Nations, where the permanent members of the powerful Security Council—the United States, Britain, Russia, China, and France—wield tremendous influence and have the power to block action on rights abuses. humans.

“Because of the way the UN was created, it leans towards the interests and voice of powerful nations at the expense of the people who suffer the most from conflict and persecution, whose rights and lives are not treated equally,” he wrote. Jolie in an opinion. she piece for TIME in June. “For decades, the main focus has been the work of international organizations. Not enough attention has been paid to listening to local groups and volunteers and strengthening their efforts.”

In a sign that Jolie was walking away from her work with the United Nations, the actress made a surprise trip to Ukraine in April to meet with displaced people and volunteers helping them, but in a personal capacity, not through UNHCR.

Jolie had been contemplating parting ways with the UNHCR for “a while” before Friday’s announcement, according to a person close to the actress, who answered questions on condition of anonymity to speak freely about the situation.

“Basically, she will be more effective as an outsider,” the person said. “She has always been like that and more with people than with the system.”

Jolie has yet to share any details about the causes and organizations she intends to shift her focus to.

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