Angelina Jolie steps down as UN refugee envoy amid controversy - details

The Hollywood star recently criticized the agency

Angelina Jolie announced on Friday that she has cut ties with the UN after 21 years and is stepping down from her role as special envoy.

The Hollywood actress and the United Nations Refugee Agency released a joint statement, in which Angelina revealed that while she "believes in many things the UN does", she now wants to focus on working with organizations "led by people most directly affected by conflict".

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Angelina's announcement comes just weeks after she appeared to criticize the UN in an op-ed piece for the Guardian, claiming that not enough is being done to "end sexual violence in conflict".

Releasing a statement on Instagram, Angelina penned: "After over 20 years, I am stepping down today from my work with the UN Refugee Agency. I believe in many things the UN does, particularly the lives it saves through emergency relief.

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"UNHCR is full of amazing people making a difference to people's lives every day. Refugees are the people I admire most in the world and I am dedicated to working with them for the rest of my life.

"I will be working now with organizations led by people most directly affected by conflict, that give the greatest voice to them."


A post shared by Angelina Jolie (@angelinajolie)

Angelina is stepping away from the UN after 21 years

She also said in a joint statement: "I am grateful for the privilege and opportunity I have had to work with so many outstanding and dedicated UNHCR field officers and other colleagues doing lifesaving work globally, and to serve as Special Envoy.

"I will continue to do everything in my power in the years to come to support refugees and other displaced people. After 20 years working within the UN system, I feel it is time for me to work differently, engaging directly with refugees and local organizations, and supporting their advocacy for solutions."

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

"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. I look forward to our continued friendship."

Angelina began working with the UN in 2001

In her article for the Guardian, published in November, Angelina wrote in part: "We meet and discuss these horrors and agree that they should never be allowed to happen again. 

"But when it comes to hard choices about how to implement these promises, we run into the same problems time and again. We run into some security council members abusing their veto power."

She added: "Despite the commitments governments made, we have not seen significant, lasting action at the global level. This is deeply painful and frustrating."

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