Federal Ministers Niebel and Westerwelle meet UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie

10.02.2012 - Press release

Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and Federal Development Minister Dirk Niebel will today (10 February) meet UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin.

Speaking before the meeting, Development Minister Niebel said:

“Angelina Jolie’s commitment as a Goodwill Ambassador is extremely commendable. Through her involvement, she brings the fate of refugees to the attention of a wide public. The work of UNHCR is also very important to me personally. That is why the Development Ministry is making available more than two million dollars extra for UNHCR’s work in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Kenya. This money will help to provide education for a total of 50,000 children – mostly from Somalia and the Sudan – in the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps in Kenya. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Development Ministry, together with UNHCR, is supporting the construction of permanent accommodation for particularly needy inhabitants of the Splaviste refugee camp in the Bosnian community of Gorazde.”

Angelina Jolie has made it her task to create homes for the remaining 8600 refugees in Splaviste.

At the Cinema for Peace Foundation Gala on 13 February, Angelina Jolie will receive the Cinema for Peace Honorary Award for her work against war and genocide and for her debut film as a director, “In the Land of Blood and Honey”, which is being presented at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival. The film, which is set in Sarajevo, tells the love story between a Bosnian Serb soldier and a Muslim artist during the war in Bosnia in the mid-1990s.

Foreign Minister Westerwelle today (10 February) issued the following statement:

“We Germans know from our own history how painful, but also how necessary, it is to confront and take a critical look at one’s past in the interests of ensuring a peaceful, common future for all. That’s why we want to help keep alive the memory of the victims and survivors of the Srebrenica genocide and thus to make a contribution to reconciliation. The Genocide Film Library Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is also supported by Angelina Jolie, is to receive funding from the Federal Foreign Office to make this project a reality.”

For some years the Federal Foreign Office has provided approx. 3.5 million euro annually to support projects aimed at dealing with the repercussions of the war in Bosnia. The funds are used among other things for mine clearance, efforts by the International Commission on Missing Persons to identify victims of the war, the return of refugees and assistance for refugees in winter.

Background to the Genocide Film Library Bosnia and Herzegovina:

In July 1995 Bosnian Serb troops led by Ratko Mladić murdered over 7000 Muslim civilians and prisoners of war in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica. The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia subsequently deemed this, the biggest massacre in Europe since the end of World War II, genocide.

Following the example of Steven Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation, the Cinema for Peace Foundation wants to record and archive filmed interviews with 10,000 survivors of the Srebrenica genocide. These interviews, brought together over five years in the Genocide Film Library Bosnia and Herzegovina, will be made accessible to schools and universities, museums, non-governmental organizations and research institutions.

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