Angelina Jolie hints at move into politics, calls for more help for refugees and women

Jolie visiting a temporary shelter for Venezuelan migrants in Lima, Peru, in October 2018.
Jolie visiting a temporary shelter for Venezuelan migrants in Lima, Peru, in October 2018.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (REUTERS) - Angelina Jolie hinted on Friday (Dec 28) she could one day enter politics, as she urged global leaders to do more to help refugees and women in conflict.

Asked whether she was moving towards a political career, the Hollywood star, an envoy for the UN refugee agency who has also campaigned on sexual violence against women, said she would "go where I'm needed".

"If you asked me 20 years ago, I would've laughed," she said in an interview with British broadcaster the BBC. "I don't know if I'm fit for politics, but then I've also joked that I don't know if I have a skeleton left in my closet."

Jolie said her work with the United Nations and other organisations enabled her to "get a lot done without a title", but did not rule out a future switch.

"I honestly will do whatever I think can really make change and right now, I am able to work with a UN agency... to do a lot of work directly with the people in need," she said.

"I'm also able to work with governments and I'm also able to work with militaries. And so I sit in a very interesting place of being able to get a lot done without a title and without it being about myself or my policies. So for now I'll sit quiet."

The Oscar-winning actor has in recent years visited refugee camps to highlight the plight of those uprooted by war, and broadened her international efforts to protect women, working with Nato and governments to help stop the use of rape as a weapon of war.

With 68.5 million people uprooted globally, she said more needed to be done to support refugees and host communities in developing countries.

"The focus should be what is happening to these people? Why is this happening? How do we have this many people uprooted and what are the causes?" Jolie said.

UN members earlier this month adopted a deal aimed at improving the way world copes with rising migration.

 
 
 
 

The non-binding pact, meant to foster cooperation on migration, was agreed in July by all 193 UN members except the United States, but only 164 formally signed it at the meeting.

"This should not be seen as a headache for people. This is how we need our leaders to be thinking about balancing our world," she added.

VOICE FOR WOMEN

Jolie, a mother of six who last year released her film First They Killed My Father about Cambodia's Khmer Rouge regime, launched the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative in 2012 with Britain's former foreign minister William Hague.

Nato agreed in January to help report on sexual violence in war to help bring perpetrators to justice and challenge the idea that rape is an unavoidable aspect of conflict.

But there have been questions over the effectiveness of the initiative, especially in light of the mass rape of Rohingya women in Myanmar during a crackdown that forced 720,000 refugees to flee to Bangladesh.

Interviewed on BBC Radio's Today programme, which she guest edited, Jolie said the campaign had made a difference.

"I have met victims who finally got reparations when they didn't have them before," she said. "When there are prosecutions and when there is accountability, we will see a real change."