Conflict & Justice

Angelina Jolie tells UN to address war zone rape

In a speech to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Monday, Angelina Jolie pleaded for members to sign a resolution that condemns rape as a tool of war.

As a special envoy for the UN's refugee agency, Jolie told diplomats stories from rape survivors, including women in Congo and Jordan.

She said that rape during war occurred not because it is "inherent to war, but because the global climate allows it."

"Let us be clear what we're speaking of," said Jolie.

"Young girls raped and impregnated before their bodies are able to carry a child, causing fistula. Boys held at gunpoint and forced to sexually assault their mothers and sisters. Women raped with bottles, wood branches and knives to cause as much damage as possible."

She urged the UNSC to take more action on the issue in the name of peace and security.

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Jolie said that one of the biggest problems was impunity for rapists.

"They suffer the most at the hands of their rapists, but they are also victims of this culture of impunity. That is the sad, upsetting and indeed shameful reality," Jolie said.

The 15-member Security Council adopted the resolution unanimously shortly after Jolie spoke.

The resolution "encourages members states to include the full range of crimes of sexual violence in national penal legislation to enable prosecution for such acts."

After Jolie spoke, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said: "In conflicts in nearly every corner of the globe, rape is used systematically and ruthlessly, in the almost certain knowledge that there will be no consequences for the perpetrators."