Angelina Jolie appeals for safety of civilians in Somali capital

Press Releases, 19 April 2010

UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie today expressed her concern for the lives and the well-being of thousands of displaced people who are trapped in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu.

More than 170,000 Somalis have been forced from their homes across the country since the beginning of the year. Scores have been killed or injured in recent weeks amid some of the bloodiest fighting to date.

"I am deeply troubled by the complete and utter disregard for human life in Somalia," said Jolie. "Another tragedy is unfolding in Somalia as street battles rage on in Mogadishu causing incredible suffering, massive displacement and loss of life."

While thousands have fled Mogadishu, many others stay behind, displaced and without any means to leave the city.

"I fear for their lives," said Jolie. "I appeal to those who carry on fighting not to shell and target civilian neighbourhoods."

UNHCR's Goodwill Ambassador added her voice to recent calls by High Commissioner Antònio Guterres for more international attention and help for the needy and vulnerable population in Somalia. Continued fighting and general insecurity make it extremely difficult for aid agencies to access and assist the displaced population.

Somalia is one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world today with half the population in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. There are more than 1.4 million Somalis displaced inside the country and some 570,000 live as refugees in the region.