Angelina Jolie stepped down as a Special Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees in December, but the move hasn’t quelled her humanitarian efforts on behalf of refugees.
On Friday, the actress, director and activist lent her support and solidarity with Iranians who are demanding sweeping changes to the country’s strict laws following the death of Mahsa Amini, 22, who died in police custody six months ago, according to NPR.
The In The Land Of Blood And Honey writer and director singled out two of the protesters who suffered serious injuries to their eyes when troops with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a multi-service primary branch of the Iranian Armed Forces, clamped down on demonstrations.
‘Thinking of the young Iranians who have suffered eye injuries protesting the killing of Mahsa Amini, like @elahetavokolian14 and Zanier Tondro,’ Jolie wrote, although the former’s name is being spelled Elahe Tavakolian and the latter Zaniar Tondro by most publications.
‘Many survivors have lost sight in one or both eyes. It’s a reminder of the price young Iranians are paying in their struggle for rights and freedoms,’ she added, as well as the hashtags: ‘#womanlifefreedom #Iran #mahsaamini #elahetavokolian #zaniertondro.’
Show of support: Angelina Jolie, 47, lent her support and solidarity to the people protesting in Iran since the death of Mahsa Amini, 22, while in police custody six months ago
Jolie also shared a photo showing Tavakolian, a PhD student in Iran, at a hospital with her right eye bandaged up, along with a quote from her that symbolizes her resolve during these turbulent times.
‘You aimed at my eyes but my heart is still beating,’ she declared following the brutal crackdown that resulted in the loss of one eye that has since been replaced with a prosthetic eye.
Tavakolian even went as far as to address her attacker, saying, ‘I don’t want to complain against you because I do not regret losing my eyesight. I am even grateful to you for this honor.’
There’s also a photo of Tondro, an 18-year-old protester, with both of his eyes bandaged up. He would also lose the sight of his right eye.
Tavakolian and Zanier Tondro are two of hundreds of Iranians who sustained severe eye injuries after being hit by pellets, tear gas cannisters, paintballs or other objects fired by security forces amid the crackdown on anti-government demonstrations.
Human rights activists estimated that more than 520 people had been killed and over 20,000 more unlawfully detained in connection with the demonstrations, Iran Wire reported at the end of March.
There have also been reports of at least 100 protesters at risk of ‘execution, death penalty charges or sentences,’ by the end of 2022, one human rights group reported, and many of the other detainees being handed long term prison sentences.
Uprising: Jolie shared the stories of Elahe Tavakolian and Zaniar Tondro, although it appears she misspelled their names, who are just two of the protesters who had their eyes seriously injured during crackdowns by the the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps
Uprising: Tavakolian, a PhD student in Iran, shared this quote after losing her right eye during clashes with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps
Honor and courage: Tavakolian, who lost her right eye and has since gotten a prosthetic, came out to share how she ‘doesn’t regret losing my eyesight’ while out pushing for sweeping government changes in Iran
Brave casualties: Zaniar Tondro, 18, who also lost his right eye, is among the hundreds of Iranians who sustained severe eye injuries after being hit by pellets, tear gas cannisters, paintballs or other objects fired by security forces amid the crackdown on anti-government demonstrations
Iranian clashes: Jolie shared how there are reports of Iranian government forces intentionally shooting protestors in the face with rubber bullets or shotgun pellets, resulting in the lost of one or both eyes
Three weeks earlier, Jolie shared news of children being detained from protests and then being harshly treated while in custody.
‘Children are testifying to horrific levels of torture while in detention in Iran,’ she wrote in. March 17 post, which included a quote from one of the kids who claims to have been tortured.
‘They gave us electric shocks, hit me in my face with a gun, gave electric shocks to my back and beat me on my feet, back and hands with batons. They threatened that if we told anyone, they would [detain us again], do even worse and deliver our corpses to our families,’ wrote an Iranian schoolboy who was arrested for writing ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’ on a wall.
Jolie then shared het thoughts, writing, ‘Every child has the right to express their view on all matters affecting them (UN Convention on the Rights of the Child). Release children detained for peaceful protest. @AmnestyIran #womanlifefreedom #iran #humanrights.’
More disturbing accusations: In March, Jolie shared news of children being detained from protests and then being tortured while in custody
Shining a light: The In The Land Of Blood And Honey writer and director shared the story of an Iranian schoolboy who claims to have been tortured while in custody
Brutal treatment: Jolie maintains ‘children are testifying to horrific levels of torture while in detention in Iran in an Instagram post on March 17
In December 2022, Jolie announced she had stepped down from her position as Special Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
‘After over 20 years, I am stepping down today from my work with the UN Refugee Agency. I believe in many things the UN does, particularly the lives it saves through emergency relief. UNHCR is full of amazing people making a difference to people’s lives every day,’ she shared on December 16, 2022.
She concluded, ‘Refugees are the people I admire most in the world and I am dedicated to working with them for the rest of my life. I will be working now with organizations led by people most directly affected by conflict, that give the greatest voice to them.
Moved on: Jolie announced she was stepping down as Special Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in December 2022
Making a difference: Jolie’s humanitarian work with the United Nations last over 20 years; she is seen working on behalf of the UN in Mosul, Iraq in June 2018