Angelina Jolie aims to end wartime sexual violence at London summit

The actress and the British government will co-host a conference in June

Ella Alexander
Tuesday 01 April 2014 16:51
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Angelina Jolie makes a speech before a screening of the movie 'In the Land of Blood and Honey' which she directed, at United Nations University in Tokyo on 29 July. She has been named the highest-paid actress in Hollywood by Forbes.
Angelina Jolie makes a speech before a screening of the movie 'In the Land of Blood and Honey' which she directed, at United Nations University in Tokyo on 29 July. She has been named the highest-paid actress in Hollywood by Forbes.

Angelina Jolie hopes to end sexual violence in conflict when she and the British government co-host a global summit on the issue in London starting on 10 June 2014.

The conference will take place over four days and will bring together governments from 141 countries to discuss how to prevent mass rape as a wartime weapon and to investigate the subject in greater depth. There are 20,000-50,000 wartime rapes recorded in Bosnia, but only 30 convictions at the Hague war crimes tribunal and 33 at the Bosnia state court.

"I would hope that years down the line when war breaks out, people who are considering raping a man, woman or child would be very aware of the consequences of their actions, and that a woman crossing a checkpoint would be aware there was someone collecting evidence and that evidence would have a... result for her," Jolie told the Guardian.

"When that begins to happen on masse, then things will change. That's why it’s important that this effort isn't just one single [approach]. We are working with everyone who has worked on this issue for years, with every NGO and every government, to assist these people on all fronts."

Jolie and British foreign secretary William Hague travelled to Bosnia last week where they met with victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, in which 8,000 men were killed by the Serbian army. What is less well known is that 20,000 women and girls were raped and few bought to justice.

"There is a lot of goodwill," Jolie said of the campaign. "There is a lot of understanding of what's right and wrong, but there is a disconnect. So if we can try to put the pieces together and fill the holes, then maybe there can be a real change."

Jolie, special envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, launched the global Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative, with Hague two years ago.

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