Actress Angelina Jolie and British Foreign Secretary William Hague will on Tuesday open a four-day summit on ending sexual violence in conflict. Senior officials from over 100 countries, including US Secretary of State John Kerry, will join over 900 experts, NGOs, survivors and religious leaders in London for the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict. The stated aims of the conference are to “shatter the culture of impunity” by launching a new International Protocol and to take practical steps to reduce the dangers women face in conflict zones. It also aims to increase support for survivors of sexual violence and to “debunk the myth that rape in war is somehow inevitable or a lesser crime”.
If women are still treated in this abhorrent way in times of war, they will never be treated as equals in times of peace, and that cannot be tolerated.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague
Hague said he was first alerted to the extent of sexual violence in conflict zones by Jolie’s 2011 film “In the Land of Blood and Honey”. Hague and Jolie, a Special Envoy for the UN Commissioner for Refugees, have since visited the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Bosnia as part of their campaign to bring the issue to the world’s attention.
For the first time in history a world summit highlights and denounces a crime that is normally made invisible and is often silenced by the majority of states.
Journalist Jineth Bedoya Lima, survivor of sexual violence in Colombia’s conflict