UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie begins visit to Bangladesh, host to nearly 1 million Rohingya refugees

Bangladesh. UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie visits Rohingya refugees in Chakmarkul camp.

UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie speaks with Rohingya refugees in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh.  © UNHCR/Santiago Escobar-Jaramillo

Angelina Jolie, the Special Envoy for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is visiting Bangladesh this week. Bangladesh has been heavily affected by the influx of more than 730,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar since August 2017 and now hosts nearly a million refugees. The majority of refugees – more than 620,000 people – live in just one area: Kutupalong, the largest refugee settlement anywhere in the world today.

Jolie is undertaking a three-day mission in Cox’s Bazar to assess the humanitarian needs of the Rohingya refugees and some of the more critical challenges facing Bangladesh as a host country.

The Special Envoy will conclude her in-country visit in Dhaka for official meetings with the Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, and the Foreign Minister, AK Abdul Momen, to discuss how UNHCR can best support the current response led by the Bangladeshi Government, along with the need for safe and sustainable solutions to the plight of one of the world's most persecuted minorities.

Her visit comes just before the launch of a new appeal for the humanitarian situation in Bangladesh – the 2019 Joint Response Plan – which seeks to raise some $920 million to continue meeting the basic needs of Rohingya refugees and the communities so generously hosting them.

The Special Envoy focuses on major forced displacement crises, representing UNHCR and the High Commissioner at the diplomatic level. This is the Special Envoy’s first visit to Bangladesh. Jolie has also met with displaced Rohingya people during a prior visit to Myanmar in July 2015 and in India in 2006.