June 12, 2014 08:08
Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie and British Foreign Secretary William Hague vowed on Tuesday 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 will 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.
The high-profile meeting in London follows a series of violent incidents against women expected to raise pressure for action, including the kidnap of some 200 Nigerian schoolgirls, the stoning of a pregnant Pakistani woman to death, and the gang-rape and murder of two Indian girls.
On the first day of the summit Tuesday, Hague unveiled a six million pound ($10 million) fund for victims from the British government.
Jolie, a special envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said political will was needed globally to treat sexual violence as a priority and tackle a culture of impunity.
The popular U.S. actress' involvement in humanitarian issues dates back to 2001 when she travelled to Sierra Leone as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador and saw the impact of years of civil war when an estimated 60,000 women were raped.
Hague became involved in Jolie's campaign against sexual violence in war zones after seeing the actress's 2011 directorial debut "In the Land of Blood and Honey" that was set against the backdrop of the 1992-95 Bosnian war in which more than 100,000 people were killed and an estimated 20,000 women believed raped.
Last year the unusual partnership led to the launch of a declaration, now signed by about 150 countries, pledging to end impunity and provide justice and safety for victims but Hague said the summit would take this further.
Jolie and British fashion designer Stella McCartney wrapped up the day by launching UK charity War Child's 'Draw Me to Safety' campaign, which aims to highlight the plight of children living in war zones.
Participants of the summit are expected to agree on the first international protocol on how to document and investigate sexual violence in conflict.
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