Hollywood actress and UN Special Envoy Angelina Jolie today joined UK Foreign Secretary William Hague to launch a four-day global summit here to end sexual violence in war.
“We must send a message across the world that there is no disgrace in being a survivor of sexual violence – the shame is on the aggressor,” Jolie said in her opening statement at the ‘Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict’.
Every year, 150 million girls and women are raped in conflict around the world, along with 70 million men and boys.
“This is an unacceptable crime practised on a vast scale. What we’re trying to achieve is standards on documentation so that people don’t get away with it,” Hague said.
The event, which is the biggest of its kind ever held, will take place over four days and include film screenings, theatre, art and will be attended by high-level foreign delegates.
Hague has called on the nations involved to write action against sexual violence in their army training.
Hague and Jolie joined forces to launch the Prevention of Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI) in 2012, with a UN Declaration of Commitment to Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict.
The aim is now to take concrete steps to improve lives of victims and to establish best practice for obtaining witness testimony of crimes of sexual violence in conflict.
The summit, which is being held at ExCeL London, will run until Thursday and includes several free events open to the public.
The summit is the largest ever gathering of its kind, with more than 140 countries taking part.
Around 200 foreign, defence and development ministers along with experts from courts, charities and the military have been invited to attend.