- Hollywood star co-hosting conference with Foreign Secretary William Hague
- London summit is largest ever held on subject of sexual violence in war
- Angelina Jolie told reporters she was ‘so, so happy to be here’
- Hague said it would be a ‘summit like no other’ to end ‘mass crime’
Angelina Jolie today urged an end to rape being used as a weapon of war, as she co-hosted a summit in London with Foreign Secretary William Hague.
The Hollywood star dedicated the four-day conference in London to a rape victim she met who ‘felt abandoned by the world’ and could not face telling her children about her past.
The 39-year-old said today’s summit must send a message around the world that ‘it has nothing to do with sex, everything to do with power’.
Mr Hague also announced that the UK will pledge a further £6million to support survivors of sexual violence in conflict. He added that it is only a ‘weak or inadequate man’ that abuses women.
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David Cameron met Angelina Jolie and William Hague at Downing Street today – after the first day of the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence being chaired by the Hollywood star and the Foreign Secretary
Mr Hague brought Miss Jolie to Number 10 through the gates to Downing Street from the Foreign Office
The UN envoy was joined by designer Stella McCartney – the daughter of Beatles legend Paul McCartney – at the summit today
Jolie posed with Miss McCartney in front of an unfinished painting by German graffiti artist Jasmin Siddiqui and Falk Lehman at the London summit
An unsigned note written by Angelina Jolie was pictured today at the opening of the four-day summit on sexual violence in war. It read: ‘All voices are valuable. Everyone. And All women and girls must be heard.’
The Foreign Secretary William Hague (right) has hailed the ‘enormous transformative’ influence of Angelina Jolie in the campaign to end the ‘mass crime’ of sexual violence in conflict zones
Speaking at the start of the summit alongside Mr Hague, Jolie dedicated the conference to a rape victim she met in Bosnia on a joint trip with the Foreign Secretary earlier this year.
‘I am so, so happy to be here, it has been long in coming, we have worked on this for quite a while,’ she said.
‘On our way over, we spoke about the women we met recently on our last trip, and in particular, one woman, who said that she had yet to tell her child that she had been raped because she was so humiliated and she could not bring herself to admit it to him.
‘And she felt that having had no justice for her particular crime, in her particular situation, and having seen the actual man who raped her on the streets free, she really felt abandoned by the world.
‘On the way over, we thought ‘what is she going to think of this day? This day is for her.’
Angelina Jolie is a UN representative on sexual violence in war. She has been campaigning on the subject with Mr Hague (right) since the Coalition came to power in 2010
The actress and UN special envoy gave an opening speech at the start of the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in London this morning
The 39-year-old actress will co-chair this week’s summit in London. She dedicated her effort to end rape in war to a victim she met with Mr Hague (right)
In a speech officially opening the summit Miss Jolie added: ‘We must send a message around the world that there is no disgrace in being a survivor of sexual violence, that the shame is on the aggressor.’
She said it is a ‘myth’ that rape is an inevitable part of conflict.
‘There is nothing inevitable about it – it is a weapon of war aimed at civilians. It has nothing to do with sex, everything to do with power,’ she said.
The actress told the crowd at the opening of the End Sexual Violence in Conflict summit that she has met survivors in countries including Afghanistan and Somalia, and they are ‘just like us, with one crucial difference’.
She said: ‘We live in safe countries with doctors we can go to when we’re hurt, police we can turn to when we’re wronged, and institutions that protect us.
‘They live in refugee camps, on bombed-out streets, in areas where there is no law, no protection, and not even the hope of justice.’
Mr Hague has spoken of the ‘enormous transformative’ influence of Jolie in the campaign to end the ‘mass crime’ of sexual violence in conflict zones.
He said he and the actress have worked closely to end rape in war zones for two years and would continue to do so.
The Foreign Secretary said he and Jolie began campaigning two years ago because they ‘believe the time has come to end the use of rape in war once and for all’.
In his opening speech, Mr Hague said: ‘We’re convinced this is an issue of international peace and security, that is central to conflict prevention, that it is fundamental to the advancement of women’s rights everywhere, and above all that it is a moral issue for our generation.’
He said the facts are now beginning to emerge for all to see.
‘What would it say about Britain, or any other nation, if, knowing all this, we chose not to act, we chose to do nothing?
‘As was said with slavery in the 18th century, now we know the facts, we cannot turn aside.’
To applause, he added: ‘We want to encourage men to speak out, to agree with us that it is only a weak or inadequate man who abuses women.
‘It’s not a sign of strength. It is the ultimate weakness and shame.’
Miss Jolie, who is married to the Hollywood star Brad Pitt, is a passionate campaigner on sexual violence in war. Mr Hague said this week’s summit would be ‘like no other’
RAPE VICTIM HAILS ANGELINA JOLIE
An African woman raped during a violent ethnic conflict in the 1970s said the summit will be ‘emotional’.
Emime Ndihokubwayo, 44, from Burundi, said the End Sexual Violence in Conflict summit marked a ‘critical moment’.
Ms Ndihokubwayo said she remembered hiding in bushes as a toddler in the 1970s.
Her mother threatened to abandon her if she did not stop crying – and would say: ‘Better to lose one baby than get the whole family killed.’
Ms Ndihokubwayo has since dedicated her life to defending human rights.
Speaking ahead of the summit, Ms Ndihokubwayo said: ‘It will be emotional as well. But also being emotional in fact is not a bad thing.’
She described Angelina Jolie’s backing as a ‘great support’.
The conference aims to draw up an international agreement on standards for documenting and investigating sexual violence in conflict zones in an attempt to ensure justice for victims.
Campaigners are also pressing for armies to be trained to prevent sexual violence in conflict zones and for more support for survivors.
Rape in war zones has a lifelong impact on hundreds of thousands of people, Mr Hague said, and the crime has affected most continents in the world and countries such as Syria, Rwanda, Congo and Colombia.
‘This is one of the great mass crimes of the 20th century and the 21st century, sadly,’ he told BBC Breakfast.
‘If anything, this is getting worse – war zone rape as a weapon of war, used systematically and deliberately against civilian populations.’
Mr Hague paid tribute to Jolie, who is a special envoy for the UN Commissioner for Refugees, saying she had made an ‘enormous transformative’ difference to the campaign.
‘What this campaign needs is big powerful governments of the world, like us, with a big diplomatic network and a big development budget to really get involved and take action, as we are,’ he said.
‘But it also needs people who will be listened to in a different way from governments and speak with their own personal authority and Angelina Jolie brings that.
‘She is very committed to this, very knowledgeable about the issues, she has come up with many of the ideas for the campaign.
‘She and I have been working closely on this for the last two years and we will keep doing so.’
William Hague said the Hollywood star’s impact on the global campaign to end sexual violence in war had been huge. He said: ‘She is very committed to this, very knowledgeable about the issues, she has come up with many of the ideas for the campaign.’
Angelina Jolie hopes the four-day summit will result in concrete steps to ban the use of sexual violence in conflicts
The ‘End Sexual Violence in Conflict’ summit in London starts today and finishes on Friday. William Hague urged the public to attend the conference
William Hague and Angelina Jolie have formed an unlikely partnership in their battle to end sexual violence in war
The global summit – End Sexual Violence in Conflict – is a four-day event and this morning Mr Hague and Jolie will open the Global Summit Fringe, which aims to increase awareness of sexual violence in conflict.
They will also take part in meetings with youth delegates.
Tomorrow they will attend an event to launch the international protocol to help strengthen prosecutions for rape in conflict.
On Thursday, delegations from more than 100 countries will attend and Mr Hague will chair a ministerial meeting on security in northern Nigeria.
On Friday, Mr Hague, Jolie, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and US Secretary of State John Kerry will speak in a closing plenary session.
From today until Thursday there will be some 140 free events open to the public.
Events and performances include the Royal Court Theatre presenting the world premiere of award-winning Liberian Girl.
There will be an exclusive screening of In The Land Of Blood And Honey, with the opportunity to hear its director Jolie and Mr Hague discuss the film and how it inspired the initiative that led to the summit.
As part of the #TimetoAct campaign, a short animation has been produced to portray the horror of rape and sexual violence through the eyes of a child.
Hollywood star Jolie’s 10 year campaign to end rape in war
Angelina Jolie may be one of the world’s most famous stars but she has got ‘credential as well as celebrity’, according to a senior director at a children’s charity.
The Special Envoy for the UN Commissioner for Refugees and star of action adventure film Lara Croft: Tomb Raider has a ‘strong track record of knowing what she’s talking about’.
Jolie’s interest in humanitarian affairs was piqued in 2000 when she went to Cambodia to film Tomb Raider, according to The UN Refugee Agency Website.
She was named a Goodwill Ambassador in 2001 by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
In 2012, High Commissioner Antonio Guterres appointed Jolie as his Special Envoy.
Anita Tiessen, deputy executive director of children’s charity Unicef UK, said that while she brings her fame to the summit she also brings experience.
Ms Tiessen talked about the impact of the 2011 film written and directed by Jolie called In the Land of Blood and Honey which is set during the Bosnian war.
‘I think Angelina herself has shown a big commitment to the issue over the last ten years that she’s been an envoy for the issue.
‘So yes she clearly brings her fame to the issue and so that attracts a lot of media. But I think she’s got a strong track record of knowing what she’s talking about, of really taking action.
‘I was recently in a meeting and the film that she did about rape and abuse during the Bosnian conflict, I heard somebody say very, very powerfully that what that’s done is that it’s made it possible for people in Bosnia to talk about things that they’ve been keeping inside for a long, long time, so I think she’s got credential as well as celebrity,’ she said.
Ms Tiessen said she believes the summit is going to be ‘hugely significant’, and said there has been a build-up of about 18 months of work led by Foreign Secretary William Hague.
She also said she thinks the week ‘will be very, very emotionally charged’.
‘I’ve heard children talk about how they’ve been sexually abused, or how they’ve been threatened with sexual abuse, and clearly it’s a very, very…it cuts close to the bone.
‘It’s not something that people talk about easily,’ she said.