UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie continues to elevate the urgency of refugee crises worldwide.
Jolie arrived in Yemen’s capital city of Aden on Sunday to visit refugees and highlight the country’s seven-year conflict, according to People. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, said she will be meeting with Yemeni families to hear their stories and experiences directly.
Her trip aims to mobilize international support and secure humanitarian aid for the Middle East’s poorest nation in the lead-up to the United Nations’ High-Level Pledging Conference for Yemen on March 16.
The Academy Award winner, who has advocated for Yemeni refugees for several years, asked that all humanitarian crises be taken seriously in light of the devastation caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that has forced 1.7 million people to flee. She’s also supported refugee efforts in countries such as Peru, Burkina Faso, and Bangladesh.
"As we continue to watch the horrors unfolding in Ukraine, and call for an immediate end to the conflict and humanitarian access, I'm here in Yemen to support people who also desperately need peace,” Jolie wrote in an Instagram video caption. “The situation here is one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world, with one civilian killed or injured every hour in 2022.”
Yemen has been in a civil war since 2015, when Houthi rebels began trying to overtake the country’s internationally recognized government. Saudi Arabia intervened and led a group of Arab states to start a military campaign aimed at putting Yemen’s government back in power. Ever since, deadly airstrikes have hit essential infrastructure, like schools and hospitals.
The war in Yemen has left millions of civilians vulnerable to famine, a situation expected to become even direr as half of the World Food Programme's wheat supply for food assistance relies on Ukraine and Russia. More than 4.2 million people and more than 100,000 refugees and asylum seekers still depend on humanitarian aid to meet their basic needs. Yet, in 2021, Yemen received the lowest funding for its humanitarian plan since 2015.
"If we learn anything from this shocking situation, it is that we cannot be selective about who deserves support and whose rights we defend,” Jolie said, regarding Ukraine’s unfolding crisis.
“Everyone deserves the same compassion. The lives of civilian victims of conflict everywhere are of equal value. After seven years of war, the people of Yemen also need protection, support, and above all, peace.”