Jolie fame to highlight humanitarian crises: UNHCR

Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:13am EDT
 
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By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA (Reuters) - Film star Angelina Jolie will use her powerful box office fame to draw wider attention to some of the world's worst humanitarian disasters, the U.N. refugee agency said on Tuesday.

Jolie, who has already served more than 10 years as goodwill ambassador for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), is taking on a new role as special envoy for large-scale crises that cause huge numbers of civilians to flee their homelands.

She is expected to deal with complex emergencies and protracted crises including Afghanistan and Somalia that have driven millions of refugees into neighboring countries where they remain for years due to the lack of a political solution.

"UNHCR is pleased to announce today that Angelina Jolie will take on a new and expanded role for the U.N. refugee agency as Special Envoy of High Commissioner Antonio Guterres," UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards told a news briefing in Geneva.

The Oscar-winning Jolie was due to be named Special Representative on the Afghan refugee crisis last October, but there was no final agreement.

"In her new role, she is expected to focus on large-scale crises resulting in the mass displacement of people, to undertake advocacy and represent UNHCR and Mr. Guterres at the diplomatic level," Edwards said.

This can include "conveying messages to governments" and emphasizing the need to adhere to human rights law, he added.

The "Tomb Raider" star has already made 40 field visits to remote hotspots in more than 20 countries, including Afghanistan, Bosnia, Haiti, Iraq and Sudan. She has donated at least $5 million which has helped build schools in Kenya and Afghanistan, the UNHCR said.   Continued...

 
Actress Angelina Jolie arrives for the Annual Women in the World Summit at the David H. Koch Theater in New York March 8, 2012 REUTERS/Andrew Kelly