Angelina Jolie is about to tackle sexual violence in war zones across the world. The actress is lending her star power in support of new government initiatives that strive to end the wide-spread use of sexual violence in conflict areas.
Jolie joined forces with British Foreign Secretary William Hague to launch the UK fight against rape. An advanced screening of her film “In the Land of Blood and Honey” set the stage for the event. The film is set against the backdrop of the Bosnia war and shows the brutal reality that women face in such conflicted areas.
The audience was made up of a variety of attendees – public figures, lawyers and human rights campaigners – who were specially-invited. The new initiatives seek to secure more prosecutions against perpetrators of sexual violence and draft legislation that would strengthen sanctions against perpetrators.
Sexual violence is used quite often in conflict zones as a weapon of war. In some countries it is even recognized as such. The conviction rates for those who have participated in this atrocity remains “far too low” according to the Foreign Office.
Last November, Margot Wallstrom, special representative of the United Nations, said that an estimated 50,000 rapes were committed during the Balkans conflict and only 30 convictions since.
Hague said in pre-released remarks, “It is in the context of war and conflict that sexual violence is found to the most appalling degree, and on a scale most of us cannot imagine. Sexual violence is an issue which is central to conflict prevention and to peace building worldwide.”
A group of experts will pull together to use their skills in gathering evidence and testimony for use in prosecutions. The group will consist of doctors, lawyers, police, psychologists, and other experts that will use their skills and talents to combat sexual violence.
The initiative was strategically launched just ahead of Britain’s 2013 presidency of the G8. According to the Telegraph, the government plans to use the UK presidency of the G8 to promote practical ways of tackling sexual violence in war zones.