Jolie, UK's Hague, vow action at sexual violence summit
Send a link to a friend
[June 10, 2014] By
LONDON (Reuters) - Hollywood actress
Angelina Jolie and British Foreign Secretary William Hague vowed on
Tuesday to produce practical action from the world's first summit on
ending sexual violence in conflict, to punish those responsible and
Up to 1,200 government ministers, military and judicial
officials and activists from up to 150 nations will attend the
June 10-13 summit, intended as a call for action to protect
women, children and men from rape and sex attacks in war zones.
Hague and Jolie, special envoy of the UN High Commissioner for
Refugees (UNHCR), said the conference was the culmination of two
years of work.
"It is a myth that rape is an inevitable part of conflict,"
Oscar-winner Jolie said at the opening of a fringe event at the
summit in London's docklands.
"It is a weapon of war aimed at civilians," she added. "It is
done to torture and humiliate people and often to very young
children ... and as an international community we are
responsible for that."
Jolie's involvement in humanitarian issues dates back to 2001
when she traveled to Sierra Leone as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador
and saw the impact of years of civil war when an estimated
60,000 women were raped.
In 2012 she joined forces with Hague to tackle sexual violence
in conflict and post-conflict situations which led last year to
a declaration now signed by about 150 countries pledging to end
impunity and provide justice and safety for victims.
"This whole subject has been taboo for far too long," said Jolie,
calling for the summit to be a turning point.
[to top of second column]
Hague said the meeting, to be attended by U.S. Secretary of State
John Kerry, would agree an international protocol on Wednesday to
push for international standards on recording and investigating sex
crimes to bring more people to justice.
"We want the summit to shatter the culture of impunity for sexual
violence, to increase support for the survivors and change the
situation on the ground for the most affected countries," he said.
Practical ways to do this included strengthening laws so there were
no safe havens for perpetrators, training armies and peacekeepers,
and increasing funding to help survivors and protect women and
children, he added.
The summit comes after a recent run of shocking cases of violence
against women that was expected to raise the pressure on the world
community for action rather than just promises.
These have included the kidnapping of 200 Nigerian schoolgirls, the
stoning to death of a pregnant woman in Pakistan in a so-called
honor killing, and the gang-rape and murder of two Indian teenagers
who were hanged from a tree.
Hague will host a ministerial meeting on security in Nigeria and the
missing schoolgirls on Thursday.
(Editing by Stephen Addison)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.