Thursday 23 October 2014

Jolie and Hague hail anti-rape move

Published 28/03/2014 | 11:57

UNHCR goodwill ambassador Angelina Jolie. Photo: AP Photo/Sulejman Omerbasic
Jolie attends a meeting with members of the Bosnian Presidency and British Foreign Secretary William Hague in Sarajevo, Bosnia. Photo: AP Photo/Sulejman Omerbasic
Angelina Jolie and William Hague.

Hollywood star Angelina Jolie has joined UK Foreign Secretary William Hague to hail Bosnia's decision to include prevention of sexual violence in military training.

The pair addressed a conference on sexual violence in conflict, organised in Sarajevo by Bosnia's Defence Ministry, saying the "groundbreaking" policy should become standard for any armed forces serving in UN peacekeeping missions.

Jolie said the initiative is "redefining soldiering in the 21st century".

Mr Hague promised the UK will support a planned training centre in Sarajevo for future military and police peacekeepers from the region.

He added that rape is a cheap and devastatingly effective way to terrorise and displace a population and is being used currently in Syria, Central African Republic and South Sudan.

Jolie told the conference: "Warzone rape has been a taboo subject in all countries. You are helping to break down those taboos and redefining soldiering in the 21st century."

She said the training is especially important for peacekeepers as their patrols "can mean that women no longer have to face a choice between going out for firewood and water and being raped or seeing their children go hungry".

The pair launched a global campaign two years ago to fight sexual violence in armed conflicts, end impunity for the perpetrators and provide support for victims. So far, 141 countries have supported the initiative.

Up to 50,000 women were raped during the 1992-95 Bosnian war. The victims later sued at the UN war crimes tribunal, which resulted in wartime rapists being put behind bars for the first time in history.

Jolie and Mr Hague later met widows and mothers of genocide victims in Srebrenica - the Bosnian town where Serb forces killed more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys in 1995. Jolie came out of the meeting crying.

Press Association

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