Angelina Jolie Has Ended Her UN Work After Recently Criticizing The Agency

Jolie joined the refugee agency in 2001 and went on more than 60 field missions.

After more than two decades as the face of the United Nations refugee agency, Angelina Jolie has left.

In a joint statement on Friday, the Oscar-winning actor and the intergovernmental organization announced that Jolie will part ways from her role as special envoy to address “a broader set of humanitarian and human rights issues.”

The news of Jolie stepping aside comes just weeks after she publicly criticized the UN in a Guardian article for its lack of success in ending sexual violence, and accused UN Security Council members of “abusing their veto power.”

Friday’s statement did not address those frustrations, and instead Jolie said that she believes it's the right time to change her approach by working directly with refugees and local organizations.

“I will continue to do everything in my power in the years to come to support refugees and other displaced people,” Jolie said.

“We meet and discuss these horrors and agree that they should never be allowed to happen again. We promise to draw — and to hold — that line. But when it comes to hard choices about how to implement these promises, we run into the same problems time and again,” Jolie wrote in the Guardian opinion piece published Nov 28. “We run into economic and political interests being put first, treating some conflicts as more important than others.”

Jolie added that governments in recent years have devalued the importance of combatting sexual violence in war zones “despite the direct link to international peace and security.”

The Maleficent star joined the agency in 2001 as a UN goodwill ambassador and became its special envoy in 2012. For years she has appeared in advertisements, and given speeches as one of its most public ambassadors, speaking out against crises in Yemen and Ukraine. Jolie carried out over 60 field missions and had just recently traveled to the country of Burkina Faso.

Filippo Grandi, the UN high commissioner for refugees, said in the release that he supported her decision to leave. “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,” he said.

The agency has not announced who will replace Jolie’s position.

Topics in this article

Skip to footer