Angelina Jolie urges U.N. Security Council to act on war zone rape

Mon Jun 24, 2013 12:59pm EDT
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By Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Actress Angelina Jolie urged the U.N. Security Council on Monday to make dealing with war zone rape a top priority as she shared stories of survivors she has met, including a Congolese mother whose 5-year-old daughter was raped outside a police station.

Oscar-winner Jolie, a special envoy for the U.N. Refugee Agency, told the council that it must shoulder its responsibility and provide leadership "for these crimes happen not because they are inherent to war, but because the global climate allows it."

"Young girls raped and impregnated before their bodies are able to carry a child, causing fistula," she told the debate on sexual violence in conflict which was organized by Britain, the president of the council for June.

"Boys held at gunpoint and forced to sexually assault their mothers and sisters. Women raped with bottles, wood branches and knives to cause as much damage as possible. Toddlers and even babies dragged from their homes, and violated," she said.

Jolie, who has visited refugee camps around the world, said that while there were hundreds of thousands of survivors of sexual violence there had only been a handful of prosecutions because the world had not made the issue a priority.

"They suffer the most at the hands of their rapists, but they are also victims of this culture of impunity. That is the sad, upsetting and indeed shameful reality," Jolie said.

Jolie visited a refugee camp last week in Jordan and told the council about meeting a Syrian woman who feared retaliation if she spoke out about the sexual violence she had suffered.

'NO MORE IMPUNITY'   Continued...

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) special envoy, actress Angelina Jolie, listens during a United Nations Security Council meeting on women, peace, security, and sexual violence in conflict at United Nations Headquarters in New York June 24, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson