Angelina Jolie has called on the UN Security Council to expedite the ceasefire in Yemen and reach a lasting settlement of the conflict. The Special Envoy of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) issued a statement distributed by the international organisation in Geneva on Sunday.
Jolie said the Council should work with countries in the Middle East to reach a negotiated end to the conflict and to address international laws on the protection of civilians. She also called for a greater understanding of refugee protection laws and for all countries to play a role in alleviating the human suffering in Yemen. The film actress and director is currently in South Korea, where several hundred Yemenis who fled the conflict are being hosted.
“The international community has been shamefully slow in working to end the crisis in Yemen,” said Jolie. “The world has seen the situation deteriorating in Yemen to a point that this country is now on the verge of a human-made famine, and is facing the worst cholera epidemic in the world in decades. When the conflict develops at this level, many people would have no choice but to flee.”
The only way to enable refugees to return back home and to reduce the total number of refugees around the world is to end the conflicts themselves, she insisted. The UN Envoy expressed her hope that there will be a greater understanding of the human reality that is causing people to flee, the strict and practical legal standards under which the status of the refugees are set up by UNHCR, the work with national authorities, as well as the strengthening of joint responsibility to help refugees return to their homes.
Jolie pointed out that without a global response based on international law and collective responsibility, there would be a greater risk of long-term instability and insecurity. She warned that this would have a negative impact on all countries.
The UNHCR pointed out that its famous Envoy’s visit to South Korea was part of her role with the organisation, which calls for essential support for refugees worldwide. It also follows the visit of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, to the Asian country last month.
During a meeting with South Korean Justice Minister Park Sang-ki, who heads the ministry responsible for local refugee policies, Grandi noted that Jolie expressed appreciation for South Korea’s efforts in helping 500 Yemenis who arrived on the island of Jeju in May. He praised Seoul’s efforts to protect refugees until it is safe for them to return home.