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Angelina Jolie appointed as Special Envoy of High Commissioner Guterres

Briefing Notes, 17 April 2012

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 17 April 2012, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

UNHCR is pleased to announce today that Angelina Jolie will take on a new and expanded role for the UN refugee agency as Special Envoy of High Commissioner António Guterres.

During a decade of service as UNHCR's Goodwill Ambassador, Ms. Jolie has conducted more than 40 field visits around the world, becoming an expert on the phenomenon of forced displacement and a tireless advocate on their behalf.

In her new role, she is expected to focus on large-scale crises resulting in the mass displacement of people, to undertake advocacy and represent UNHCR and Mr. Guterres at the diplomatic level, engaging with relevant interlocutors on global displacement issues. Ms. Jolie will focus on complex emergencies and will work to facilitate lasting solutions for people displaced by conflict.

High Commissioner Guterres is grateful to Ms. Jolie for accepting this role at a critical time in global displacement. Her new status as Special Envoy is effective immediately.

For further information on this topic, please contact:

  • In Geneva: Melissa Fleming on mobile +41 79 557 91 22
  • In Geneva: Adrian Edwards on mobile +41 79 557 91 20
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Angelina Jolie returns to Iraq, urges support for the displaced

UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie returned to Iraq in July 2009 to offer support to the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who remain displaced within their own country.

During her day-long visit to Baghdad, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie visited a makeshift settlement for internally displaced people in north-west Baghdad where she met families displaced from the district of Abu Ghraib, located to the west of Baghdad, and from the western suburbs of the capital.

Despite the difficulties in Iraq, Jolie said this was a moment of opportunity for Iraqis to rebuild their lives. "This is a moment where things seem to be improving on the ground, but Iraqis need a lot of support and help to rebuild their lives."

UNHCR estimates that 1.6 million Iraqis were internally displaced by a wave of sectarian warfare that erupted in February 2006 after the bombing of a mosque in the ancient city of Samarra. Almost 300,000 people have returned to their homes amid a general improvement in the security situation since mid-2008.

Angelina Jolie returns to Iraq, urges support for the displaced

Angelina Jolie meets boat people in Malta, Lampedusa

Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie joined UNHCR chief António Guterres on the Italian island of Lampedusa, where they met with boat people who have fled unrest in North Africa.

More than 40,000 people, including refugees and asylum-seekers, have crossed the Mediterranean on overcrowded boats and descended on the small island since the beginning of the year.

The UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador flew to Lampedusa from Malta, which has also been a destination for people fleeing North Africa by boat.

Angelina Jolie meets boat people in Malta, Lampedusa

Angelina Jolie in Bosnia

UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie met with forcibly displaced people on April 5, 2010 during her first visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The actress, accompanied by her partner Brad Pitt, called for steps to end the continued suffering of these victims of the Bosnian War after hearing their harrowing tales and seeing their grim living conditions.

Jolie was clearly moved by the spirit - and the ordeal - of the people she met and she pledged to highlight their case. Most of the people she talked to have been living in exile since the end of the 1992-1995 conflict. Jolie visited collective centres in the towns of Gorazde and Rogatica, where the inhabitants lack basic services such as running water.

The actress spent some time with a group of women who were raped or tortured during the war. Their tales left a deep impression on her. She also met a family of refugee returnees who were still waiting to move into their village home near the eastern Bosnian town of Visegrad.

Angelina Jolie in Bosnia

Jordan: Angelina Jolie in conversation with refugeesPlay video

Jordan: Angelina Jolie in conversation with refugees

UNHCR's Special Envoy speaks with two Syrian women who have suffered the ravages of the war in their country.
Jordan: WORLD REFUGEE DAY Za'atri visitPlay video

Jordan: WORLD REFUGEE DAY Za'atri visit

UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie and High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres call for diplomacy to stop the conflict in Syria.
Jordan: Angelina Jolie meets Syrian Refugees at BorderPlay video

Jordan: Angelina Jolie meets Syrian Refugees at Border

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, and UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie visited Jordan's rapidly expanding Za'atri refugee camp today to mark World Refugee Day, which is commemorated each year on 20 June. They toured the camp and met with individual Syrians who had fled the conflict.