Angelina Jolie Steps Down From High-Profile United Nations Role

The actress had been working with the U.N. since 2001.

After more than 20 years, Angelina Jolie is stepping down from her role with the United Nations, where she also served on the high-profile U.N. High Commissioner of Refugees Special Envoy.

The actress and the U.N. released a joint statement Friday announced the news. She has worked with the UNHCR since 2001 and was appointed to its Special Envoy in 2012. 

"I am stepping down today from my work with the UN Refugee Agency," Jolie said in an Instagram post. "I believe in many things the UN does, particularly the lives it saves through emergency relief. 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."

Jolie recently traveled with the Special Envoy to Yemen and the West African country Burkina Faso to meet displaced people "enduring two of the most underfunded and under-reported emergencies in the world."

"Angelina Jolie has been an important humanitarian partner of UNHCR for very long," said Filippo Grandi, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. "We are grateful for her decades of service, her commitment, and the difference she has made for refugees and people forced to flee. 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."

Andrew McConnell / UNHCR via Getty Images
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U.N. Under-Secretary-General Melissa Fleming, who as communications director for the refugee agency worked closely with the actress, commended Jolie, who "opened public eyes, minds and hearts."

According to CBS News, Jolie's move comes after expressing frustration with the U.N.'s inability to bring peace to a growing number of countries in conflict. She made her feelings known during a 2019 speech to the General Assembly.

"We live at a time of blatant disregard for the laws of war that forbid attacks on civilians ... We seem incapable of upholding minimum standards of humanity in many parts of the world," she said at the time.