On Monday, Angelina Jolie made her debut before the UN’s most powerful body as a special envoy for refugees and urged the world’s nations to make the fight against rape in war a top priority.
She told the Security Council that “hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of women, children and men have been raped in conflicts in our lifetimes”. Jolie, who is a goodwill ambassador for the UN high commissioner for refugees, said the Security Council has witnessed 67 years of wars and conflict since it was established “but the world has yet to take up war zone rape as a serious priority”.
“You set the bar,” she told the council. “If the council sets rape and sexual violence in conflict as a priority, it will become one and progress will be made. If you do not, this horror will continue.”
Soon after Jolie spoke, the council adopted a legally binding resolution demanding the complete and immediate cessation of all acts of sexual violence by all parties to armed conflict.
It noted that sexual violence can constitute a crime against humanity and a contributing act to genocide, called for improved monitoring of sexual violence in conflict, and urged the UN and donors to assist survivors.
Jolie, who has travelled extensively in her role as a goodwill ambassador, recalled several of the survivors she had met – the mother of a 5-year-old girl raped outside a police station in Goma in eastern Congo, and a Syrian woman she spoke to in Jordan last week who asked to hide her name and face “because she knew that if she spoke out about the crimes against her, she would be attacked again and possibly killed”. – AP
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