Angelina Jolie, UK's Hague, vow action at sexual violence summit

by Reuters
Tuesday, 10 June 2014 14:48 GMT

Actress and special envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Angelina Jolie, watches as British Foreign Secretary William Hague speaks at a global summit to end sexual violence in conflict, in London June 10, 2014. REUTERS/Andrew Winning

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American actress Angelina Jolie and British Foreign Secretary William Hague vowed on Tuesday (June 10) to produce practical action from the world's first summit on ending sexual violence in conflict to punish those responsible and help victims.

Up to 1,200 government ministers, military and judicial officials and activists from about 150 nations were due to attend the June 10-13 summit that is a call for action to protect women, children and men from rape and sex attacks in war zones.

Hague and Jolie, special envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said the conference was the culmination of two years of work and they wanted concrete action to capture and punish those responsible for these crimes and support victims.

"This has been long in coming," Oscar-winner Jolie told a crowd of media as she arrived at the ExCel centre in London's docklands.

Hague said the summit, that is due to be attended by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, will push for international standards on recording and investigating crimes such as rape.

"And this will be the greatest concentration of effort, of discussion and decision ever seen in combating sexual violence in conflict. It's an issue on which Angelina and I have worked, as you know, over the last two years and it's also going to be a summit like no other on this subject because of what we're going to agree - a practical action that will result - the new international protocol which that set standards internationally for the documentation and investigation of these crimes," British Foreign Secretary William Hague said.

A recent run of shocking cases of violence against women, including the kidnapping of 200 Nigerian girls, the stoning to death of a pregnant woman in Pakistan and the gang-rape and murder of two Indian teenager, is expected to raise the pressure on the world community for action rather than just promises.

Oscar-winner Jolie's involvement in humanitarian issues dates back to 2001 when she traveled to Sierra Leone as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador and was horrified to see the impact of years of civil war, when an estimated 60,000 women were raped.

On Wednesday (June 11), the summit will agree the first international protocol on how to document and investigate sexual violence in conflicts and a ministerial meeting on security in Nigeria and the missing schoolgirls will be held Thursday.

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