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  • 28 March 2014, 15:09

Hague And Jolie Hail Anti-Rape Military Action

Bosnia's decision to include rape prevention in military training has been hailed as "groundbreaking" by Foreign Secretary William Hague and Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie.

The pair said it should become standard for all armed forces serving in UN peacekeeping missions.

They were attending a conference on sexual violence in conflict in Sarajevo on Friday as part of their two-year joint campaign to end the use of rape as a weapon in warzones.

Ms Jolie - a special envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees - described the move to train international peacekeepers to protect civilians from sexual violence as "inspiring".

She said the action was "redefining soldiering in the 21st century".

"As soldiers you understand the pain war inflicts on women and children, and why they must be protected," she said.

Mr Hague said Britain would support the city's Peace Support Operations Training Centre and said the training would "give service men and women the skills to make a real difference".

"Often sexual violence continues even when the guns have gone silent, used as a cowardly tool to settle scores or undermine the peace," he said.

"Preventing and responding to these crimes is essential to the fundamental mission of any peace-keeping force, which is to protect civilians.

"Yet because rape has unjustly been considered a 'lesser' crime, because it has only recently been understood as a method of warfare, and because an unfair stigma keeps victims silent, peace-keeping forces have only just begun to consider preventing sexual violence as part of their mandate and their responses to it are still evolving."

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