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Angelina Jolie departs United Nations special envoy role

For more than 20 years, actor Angelina Jolie has aided the United Nation in its efforts to support refugees. But that partnership came to an official end on Friday.

In a joint statement, the “Eternals” actor and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees announced that Jolie will move on from her special envoy role to separately advocate for more human rights.

“I will continue to do everything in my power in the years to come to support refugees and other displaced people,” Jolie said in Friday’s statement. “After 20 years working within the UN system I feel it is time for me to work differently, engaging directly with refugees and local organisations, and supporting their advocacy for solutions”.

Angelina Jolie in a white blouse speaks into a microphone while behind a United Nations podium

Angelina Jolie addresses a meeting on peacekeeping at U.N. headquarters in 2019.

(Bebeto Matthews / Associated Press)

Jolie’s work with the UNHCR began in 2001 as a goodwill ambassador. She was then appointed a special envoy in 2012.

During her tenure, the actor carried out “more than 60 field missions to bear witness to stories of suffering as well as hope and resilience,” the statement said. As a special envoy, she recently traveled to Yemen and Burkina Faso with UNHCR to meet refugees.

In 2013, the Oscar-winning “Girl, Interrupted” star also testified to the United Nations Security Council about war-zone rape.

“Hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of women, children and men have been raped in conflicts in our lifetimes,” she said, according to the Associated Press.

“You set the bar,” she told the organization. “If the … council sets rape and sexual violence in conflict as a priority it will become one and progress will be made. If you do not, this horror will continue.”

In addition to her UNHCR work, Jolie has leveraged her Hollywood platform and mass following to bring attention to other humanitarian issues.

On Instagram, she has shared posts in support of the women’s liberation movement in Iran, Ukrainian children who have been displaced by the country’s war with Russia and more.

“After a long and successful time with UNHCR, I appreciate her desire to shift her engagement and support her decision,” wrote Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees. “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.”

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