Angelina Jolie steps down as UN refugee agency envoy to engage ‘directly with refugees’
By Liam Reilly and Chloe Melas, CNN
Angelina Jolie is moving on from her role as a United Nations special envoy for refugees, and will be engaging “on a broader set of humanitarian and human rights issues,” the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, and the actress said in a joint statement.
Jolie — who has worked with UNHCR for over two decades and was appointed special envoy in 2012 — says she plans to “work differently” and engage “directly with refugees and local organisations,” among other endeavors.
“I am grateful for the privilege and opportunity I have had to work with so many outstanding and dedicated UNHCR field officers and other colleagues doing lifesaving work globally, and to serve as Special Envoy,” said Jolie in the statement issued Friday.
“I will continue to do everything in my power in the years to come to support refugees and other displaced people.”
“Over the past 21 years, Ms. Jolie has worked tirelessly, carrying out more than 60 field missions to bear witness to stories of suffering as well as hope and resilience,” the statement said, highlighting her recent travels to Yemen and Burkina Faso to meet displaced people.
Jolie will continue to work to “build a more equal, just and inclusive international system,” the statement added.
“We are grateful for her decades of service, her commitment, and the difference she has made for refugees and people forced to flee,” the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, is quoted as saying.
“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.”
A source close to Angelina Jolie said of her departure from the role as UN Special envoy that “she will be more effective as an outsider.”
“She always has been like that and more with the people than the system,” the source said.
Jolie stepped down from her role Friday, according to a UNHCR spokeswoman.
“The UNHCR has no intention of appointing someone else in the special envoy role,” spokeswoman Kathryn Mahoney told CNN.
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