Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie has teamed up with Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague for a trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to highlight the use of rape as a weapon of war and to raise awareness of the issue on an international level.
The two will visit a rescue camp for women north-west of Goma to raise awareness about warzone rape.
“This visit is about hearing first hand from people who have endured rape and sexual violence during the conflict in the eastern DRC. We want justice for the victims and we want to know how the world can protect thousands of women, men and children at risk of rape in many other conflict zones. We want to persuade governments around the world to give this issue the attention it deserves,” said Jolie.
“Unless the world acts, we will always be reacting to atrocities, treating survivors rather than preventing rape in the first place,” added Jolie.
Hague hopes to present his findings to the forthcoming Group of Eight summit in London.
He is calling on the G8 leaders to agree that rape and sexual violence constitute breaches of the Geneva Conventions governing warfare.
“More often than not the international community looks away, the perpetrators of these brutal crimes walk free and the cycle of injustice and conflict is repeated,” he said.
“It is time for real, meaningful action by the governments of the world to say that the use of rape as a weapon of war is unacceptable, to bring perpetrators to justice and to lift the stigma from survivors. This is my personal priority for the meeting of G8 foreign ministers,” he added.
As a UNHCR Special Envoy, Jolie has fought for the rights of refugees worldwide for over a decade.
A 2011 film by the 37-year-old actress, “In the Land of Blood and Honey,” depicts the experiences of victims in the infamous rape camps set up during the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia-Herzegovina.