Angelina Jolie reaches out to refugees in Ecuador

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QUITO – Hollywood star Angelina Jolie has visited with displaced Colombians forced to seek refuge across the border in Ecuador as a special envoy of High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres, the UNHCR announced Sunday.

In this undated photo released on Sunday, April 22, 2012 by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie (center) meets with 71-year-old Gerardina (right) in the village of Barranca Bermeja. After a decade of promoting refugee causes around the world, the United Nations refugee agency has elevated the Hollywood star from being a goodwill ambassador to a special envoy, a role that will see her represent the organization to governments and diplomats. AP PHOTO/ JASON TANNER, UNHCR VIA PA

It was the first such working visit for the screen star since Guterres named her to the post this month. She has however been a UN goodwill ambassador since 2001, and as such made 40 visits around the world in the past decade.

The new post will see the Oscar-winning actress perform a more diplomatic role.

“She is expected to focus on large-scale crises resulting in the mass displacement of people, to undertake advocacy and represent UNHCR and Mr Guterres at the diplomatic level, engaging with relevant interlocutors on global displacement issues,” UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards said last week.

Ecuador is the Latin American nation which has the largest number of refugees –

including some 56,000 from neighboring Colombia. Jolie visited with refugees in Sucumbios province on Saturday, the UN said.

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