UNHCR envoy Angelina Jolie holds talks with Houthis

TUnited Nations High Commission for Refugees, Special envoy Angelina Jolie meets Somali refugees who fled their homes and found safety in Yemen, on March 6, 2022 in Aden, Lahej, Yemen

Originally posted to The Middle East Monitor website, 9 March 2022

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)’s Goodwill Ambassador and Hollywood star Angelina Jolie yesterday held discussions with the Houthi Foreign Minister Hisham Sharaf in Sanaa, theHouthi aligned Saba news agency reported.

Sharaf highlighted the struggles of “oppressed” Yemenis “who has been living under siege for seven years.”

Sharaf said that there are sides that want the war in Yemen to continue despite the “oppression and suffering inflicted on the Yemenis.”

Jolie’s visit aimed to draw attention to the growing humanitarian needs in Yemen and help mobilise global support for aid ahead of a high-level conference to announce donations for Yemen slated to be held on 16 March.

Jolie met with the refugees and displaced Yemeni families and women. Witnesses reported that she broke down into tears when she saw the living conditions women and children were forced to live in.

“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 on social media at the start of her trip.

“The situation here is one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world, with one civilian killed or injured every hour in 2022. An economy devastated by war, and over 20 million Yemenis depending on humanitarian assistance to survive,” she added.

She has already visited the southern capital Aden.

Yemen has been engulfed by violence and war since 2014, when Iran-aligned Houthis captured much of the country, including the capital Sanaa.

The conflict has created one of the world’s worst man-made humanitarian crises, with nearly 80 per cent of the country, or about 30 million people, in need of humanitarian assistance and protection and more than 13 million are in danger of starvation, according to UN estimates.

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