Angelina Jolie Calls for Protection, Support for People of Yemen: 'Suffering Here Is Unimaginable'

"I hope this compassion and solidarity will be extended to the people of Yemen, who urgently need a swift and peaceful resolution," says Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie. Photo: JIM LO SCALZO/Shutterstock

Angelina Jolie is speaking out in support of the people of Yemen amid the country's ongoing civil war.

In a release obtained by PEOPLE, Jolie — who is currently spending three days in Yemen, where she has "met both internally displaced Yemenis as well as refugees in the north and south of the country," according to the release — says, "The level of human suffering here is unimaginable."

"For every day that Yemen's brutal conflict continues, more and more innocent lives are lost and more people will continue to suffer," she continues. "We live in a world where suffering and horror dominates headlines, but where such headlines can result in overwhelming displays of compassion and international solidarity."

The actress, humanitarian and Special Envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 46, says she hopes "this compassion and solidarity will be extended to the people of Yemen, who urgently need a swift and peaceful resolution to this conflict – and to other displaced people, whoever and wherever they are in the world."

"With over 80 million people displaced worldwide and aid appeals underfunded globally, we urgently need to find solutions that enable conflicts to be addressed and displaced people to be able to return home in dignity and safety," Jolie concludes.

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According to the release, the purpose of the Oscar winner's trip to Yemen was "to draw attention to the devastating consequences of the seven-year-old conflict on the civilian population."

Jolie landed in the Middle Eastern nation Sunday, revealing that she'd arrived in the capital city of Aden "to meet displaced families and refugees for UNHCR @refugees and show my support for the people of Yemen."

The actress, who has long been an advocate for the people of Yemen, likened the country's ongoing humanitarian crisis to the current devastation in Ukraine, urging compassion for those impacted by both conflicts.

"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 said on Instagram. "The situation here is one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world, with one civilian killed or injured every hour in 2022."

She added, "An economy devastated by war, and over 20 million Yemenis depending on humanitarian assistance to survive."

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Jolie went on to note that "a million people were forced to flee the horrific war in Ukraine" over the previous week, insisting "that we cannot be selective about who deserves support and whose rights we defend."

"Everyone deserves the same compassion," she wrote. "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."

Since 2014, Yemen has been enduring a civil war, with both the Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi-led Yemeni government and the Supreme Political Council's Houthi movement claiming to run the country. Millions of Yemeni civilians continue to face starvation due to famine, while more than 100,000 have reportedly died amid the conflicts, which include Saudi Arabia-backed bombing campaigns.

On Tuesday, Jolie said on Instagram that she was in the Yemeni city of Sana'a "meeting more Yemeni families who have been displaced and injured in the conflict," sharing photos of some of said families.

She ended her post by saying the UNHCR is "calling for" five things specifically: "all parties to the conflict to respect and commit to international humanitarian law"; "safe passage for civilians trying to flee conflict areas"; "humanitarian access to all people in need, for humanitarian workers"; "a peace agreement to end the conflict" and "urgent support for the @unitednations appeal for #Yemen, which is only 9% funded."

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