Angelina Jolie joined foreign ministers at a G8 summit in London today as they pledged to a historic agreement to end sexual violence against women and children in war zones.
The actress, who is Special Envoy for the U.N. Human Rights Council, was also joined by Zainab Bangura, the U.N’s Special Representative on sexual violence in conflict areas.
William Hague, the UK’s Foreign Secretary, led the meeting of ministers under the UK’s presidency of the G8, at Lancaster House in London.
Jolie, 37, wore a sober black coat, paired with pearls and nude shoes, with her hair scraped in a conservative bun for the occasion.
During the G8 summit, the Mr. and Mrs. Smith star spoke about sexual violence against women and children in war afflicted countries.
An issue close to the heart of the mother of six, in her speech Jolie praised the G8’s pledge of support — that includes a further $15 million (£10 million) from the UK and a further $13 from the other countries— and said (in part):
“Hundreds of thousands of women and children have been sexually assaulted in the wars of our generation.”
She added: “But wartime rape is not inevitable. This violence can be prevented, and it must be confronted. I have heard survivors of rape from Bosnia to (the Congo) say that the world simply does not care about them.”
Jolie continued: “International political will has been sorely lacking. But today I believe that their voices have been heard, and that we finally have some hope to offer them. It is encouraging to see men in leadership positions speaking out against rape. Rape is not a women’s issue, or a humanitarian issue, it is a global issue.”
Last month Jolie and UK Foreign Secretary Hague traveled to the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has one of the worst track records of sexual violence and rape in war and met victims.
Hague drew similarities between such crimes to the slave trade, saying rape in war zones is “one of the greatest and most persistent injustices in the world”.
He added: “It is almost one of the most neglected.”