Angelina Jolie warns Islamic State using rape on unprecedented scale
By Kieran Guilbert
LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie warned on Tuesday that Islamic State was using rape as a weapon of war on a scale never seen before and called for greater action against those responsible.
Jolie, a special envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and active campaigner against the use of sexual violence in conflict, said Islamic State was using rape as a "policy" and urged a "very strong response".
Thousands of women and girls have been abducted, raped and sold into sexual slavery by Islamic State since the militant group declared a caliphate across swathes of Syria and Iraq last summer, according to the United Nations and rights groups.
"The most aggressive terrorist group in the world today ...(is) using (rape) as a centerpoint of their terror and their way of destroying communities and families," she told a British parliamentary committee on Tuesday.
Oscar-winning Jolie, who joined forces with former British foreign secretary William Hague in 2012 to launch an initiative to prevent sexual violence in conflict, spoke about girls she had met in war zones who had been raped.
This included a 13-year-old Iraqi girl whom she said was raped repeatedly along with her friends and sold for 26 pounds sterling($40).
As part of their campaign against sex crimes in war, Jolie and Hague in 2013 launched a declaration pledging to pursue those responsible and provide justice and safety for victims that has been signed by more than 150 nations.