John Kerry joins Angelina Jolie in demanding end of sexual violence in war zones at London summit

 

US Secretary of State John Kerry joined forces with Angelina Jolie in demanding the end of sexual violence during the closing ceremony of a four-day London summit organised by the Hollywood actress.

Echoing remarks made by Ms Jolie earlier this week, Mr Kerry, a war veteran and father of two daughters, called on world leaders to fight the culture of impunity and insisted that rape can no longer be employed as weapon of war and intimidation against civilians.

"It's time for us in an age where we see enough of chaos, failed and failing states, to write a new norm, one that protects women, girls, men, boys, protects them from these unspeakable crimes," he added.

The actress described the summit as an "emotional experience" and highlighted that the event has served to "map out every area of action we need to take", adding: "We have all come together based on a common desire to end war zone sexual violence."

The four-day End Sexual Violence in Conflict Summit has received worldwide media attention thanks to the presence of the actress, who is a UN Special Envoy and a female rights activists, alongside Foreign Secretary William Hague.

The foreign secretary became committed to the agenda after seeing Jolie's film 'The land of Blood and Honey' about the horrors of sexual violence that militias and armies perpetrated during the Bosnian conflict of the 1990s, where thousands of women were brutally abused and sexually exploited.

 

At the start of the summit, Ms Jolie made an impassioned plea for action, insisting that sorrow and compassion is not enough to help victims of sexual abuse in conflict zones, where women, young girls and children are easy targets and rape is often seen as a "lesser crime".

On Tuesday, the actress told a London audience perpetrators must be brought to justice after thriving in a culture of "silence and denial" and governments must be held accountable for their lack of action.

She said: "We need to treat this subject as a priority... and go after the worst perpetrators... we need all armies, peacekeeping troops and police forces to have prevention of sexual violence in conflict as part of their training."

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