The British Government has launched a global campaign aimed at tackling sexual violence in war zones around the world. Angelina Jolie lent her voice to the campaign yesterday and, alongside William Hague, spoke about how sexual violence and rape are used as weapons of war. The UN has estimated that during the 1992 – 1995 Bosnian War 50,000 rapes were committed which has resulted in only 30 convictions.
The Government’s initiative is expected to be in place by the end of the year and will include a panel of UK experts consisting of doctors, lawyers, forensic experts and the police who will gather evidence about sexual violence in conflict zones with the aim of increasing the number of prosecutions through the international criminal courts.
Jolie, a special envoy for the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), has been drawing attention to some of the worlds worst humanitarian disasters for over 10 years and has worked tirelessly to highlight the plight of refugees and internally displaced persons in over 30 countries including Sudan, Afghanistan, Syria, Haiti, Somalia and Thailand.
Last year she completed her directorial debut, In the Land of Blood and Honey, a love story set during the Bosnian war and gave an advanced screening of it during the launch of the scheme at the Foreign Office yesterday.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo over a thousand women, children and men are raped every day and the atrocities are also widespread throughout the Darfur region of Sudan. They, along with other countries, will be the projects main concern.
Hague stated in his speech: “Sexual violence is an issue which is central to conflict prevention and to peace building worldwide.
“Where there is no justice, the seeds of future conflict are sown, and development is held back.”