Hollywood actress and U.N. special envoy Angelina Jolie and British Foreign Secretary William Hague pledged on Tuesday, at the beginning of a four-day international event in London, to undertake practical measures to eliminate sexual violence in conflict zones.
The Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict aims to protect women, men and children from rape and sexual attacks in war zones. The summit, which will end on June 13, is said to be the largest of its kind and will reportedly be attended by over 1,000 government ministers, military and judicial officials from about 150 nations.
“I am so, so happy to be here, it has been long in coming, we have worked on this for quite a while,” Jolie, who is a special envoy of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, reportedly said.
Jolie also reportedly dedicated the conference on sexual violence, which was held at the beginning of the summit, to a rape victim she reportedly met in Bosnia earlier this year while travelling with Hague.
"She felt that having had no justice for her particular crime, in her particular situation, and having seen the actual man who raped her on the streets free, she really felt abandoned by the world," Jolie reportedly said. "This day is for her."
Hague reportedly said that he and the 39-year-old Oscar-winning actress had been working closely to eradicate the “mass crime” of sexual violence in conflict zones for the last two years and that they would continue to do so in the future.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who will also participate in the summit at the ExCeL Centre in East London, wrote in the Evening Standard newspaper, ahead of the inauguration: "Sexual violence plagues every country. Acts of sexual violence demean our collective humanity," adding: "We will pool our expertise, diplomatic skills and resources toward the common goal of relegating sexual violence to the annals of history where it belongs."
On Wednesday, Jolie and Hague will reportedly launch the first international protocol to strengthen prosecutions for sexual violence in conflicts, while a meeting attended by foreign ministers from Nigeria and neighboring African countries will be hosted on Thursday to focus on security issues in the region, which have been cast into the global spotlight after Islamist militant group Boko Haram kidnapped more than 300 schoolgirls in April.