Entertainment News

  • 10 June 2014, 9:42

Angelina Jolie Hosts War Zone Rape Summit

Actress Angelina Jolie has dedicated a global summit to end sexual violence in war zones to an "abandoned" victim of rape in Bosnia.

The actress is co-hosting the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict with Foreign Secretary William Hague, in London.

It is the largest ever gathering of its kind, with more than 140 countries taking part.

The aim is to make sexual violence in war zones as unacceptable as chemical weapons and cluster munitions.

As she arrived for the summit this morning, to a bank of photographers, reporters and broadcasters, Jolie, 39, said she was "so, so happy to be here".

Speaking at the start of the summit in east London, the Hollywood star said she had met a woman earlier this year on a campaigning trip to Bosnia.

She said the woman was too humiliated to tell her own child that she had been raped - and had seen her attacker "on the streets free".

Jolie 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."

Every year, 150 million girls and women are raped in conflict around the world, along with 70 million men and boys, and the overwhelming majority of them never get justice.

Mr Hague told Sky News: "This is an unacceptable crime practised on a vast scale.

"What we're trying to achieve is standards on documentation so that people don't get away with it."

Under the UK's presidency, the G8 last year declared rape and serious sexual violence in conflict as grave breaches of the Geneva Convention, as well as war crimes.

Some 144 world governments have now endorsed the declaration.

The London Summit wants to seize that momentum and turn it into practical action to prevent rape and help victims.

One of the speakers will be Poline Akello, who was abducted from her home in Uganda when she was just 14.

Forced by the army of notorious warlord Joseph Kony to become a child soldier, she survived six years in the bush where she was given to one of Kony's commanders.

"I knew it wasn't the right time for me," she said. "My body wasn't mature enough but they took my virginity."

Poline became pregnant but her baby did not survive and she was not allowed to hold or bury her child.

"I wasn't allowed to mourn," she said. "If you cried, they would kill you."

Victim Estella Nelson, of Liberia Women Media Action Committee, told Sky News babies were also being attacked.

"We have girls as young as eight months being raped. We need to know why babies are being targeted by perpetrators," Ms Nelson said.

The summit, which is being held atExCeL London, will run until Thursday and includes dozens of free events which will be open to the public.

Around 200 foreign, defence and development ministers have been invited to attend, along with experts from courts, charities and the military.