UN: US actress Angelina Jolie calls for end to sexual violence in conflict

New York, US (PANA) - Hollywood actress, activist and Special Envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Ms. Angelina Jolie on Tuesday called for concerted action to end once and for all the use of rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war.

Ms. Jolie, who spoke at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, which opened in London, said that it was a myth that rape was an inevitable part of conflict.

A transcript of her speech made available to PANA in New York, quoted her as stating: "There is nothing inevitable about it. It is a weapon of war, aimed at civilians. It has nothing to do with sex, and everything to do with power. It is done to torture and humiliate innocent people, often very young children."

She noted that the subject itself had been taboo for far too long, saying: "War zone rape is a crime that thrives on silence and denial. The stigma harms survivors, it causes feelings of shame and worthlessness. It feeds ignorance, such as the notion that rape has anything to do with normal sexual impulses."

She said most of all, it allowed rapists to get away with the crime stressing the need to shatter that culture of impunity and make justice the norm, not the exception, for these crimes.

"We need political will, replicated across the world, and we need to treat this subject as a priority. We need to see real commitment to go after the worst perpetrators, to fund proper protection for vulnerable people, and to step in and help the worst-affected countries.

"We need all armies, peacekeeping troops and police forces to have prevention of sexual violence in conflict as part of their training."

The Summit, she added, must be a turning point in addressing sexual violence in conflict.

The US actress said they must send a message around the world that there was no disgrace in being a survivor of sexual violence, but that the shame was with the aggressor.

"We must work together in new and unprecedented ways, across borders, religions, bringing governments and people together, and tackling the problem in every possible way.

"By doing these things, we can end the use of rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war once and for all. We can do it."

The Global Summit, which runs through 13 June and is being co-chaired by Ms. Jolie and British Foreign Secretary William Hague, and brings together over 900 experts, non-governmental organisations, survivors, faith leaders and international organisations from around the globe.
-0- PANA AA/MA 10June2014

10 june 2014 19:54:25

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