Angelina Jolie: Governments are doing nothing about wartime sexual violence


Ministers and representatives from 70 countries are expected to attend the two-day PSVI summit, which begins on Monday

Angelina Jolie denounced as “deeply distressing and disappointing” the lack of action by governments to support survivors of wartime rape.

The actress and UN special envoy for refugees, who launched the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI) with then-Foreign Secretary William Hague in 2012, said not enough progress had been made to refer perpetrators to justice and support for survivors.

Writing in the Guardian newspaper today, she said: “There has been some progress, but not enough to meet the needs of survivors or to prevent perpetrators from using rape as a weapon of war in almost every new conflict over the past decade.

Despite the commitments made by governments, we have not seen significant, sustained action at the global level. This is deeply painful and disappointing.”

As the British government marks the 10th anniversary of PSVI with a conference in London, the actress said: “We meet and discuss these atrocities and agree that they must never be allowed to happen again. We promise to draw – and hold – that line.

But when it comes to hard choices about how to implement those promises, we face the same problems over and over again. We find some members of the Security Council abusing their veto power as in the case of Syria.

We run into economic and political interests being prioritized, treating some conflicts as more important than others. And we run into a lack of political will, which means that governments in recent years have downplayed the importance of efforts to combat sexual violence in war zones, despite the direct link to international peace and security.”

Ministers and representatives from 70 countries are expected to attend the two-day PSVI summit, which begins on Monday. They will be joined by survivors of violence and Nobel laureates Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege.

The UK government on Monday announced £12.5m of new funding to tackle the violence. Most of the money will be used to support survivors.

Nimko Ali, chief executive of the Five Foundation, an organization working for women and girls around the world, said the promise of money is not enough.

“It is not enough to see renewed commitments,” he said. “They have been shown not to be adequate or reliable. Money should be given to local women’s organizations. If international aid and foreign diplomacy strategies do not include unwavering and concrete financial commitments to women and girls at the grassroots level – in the countries where the specific incidents of violence are occurring – we will be here again in 10 years,” he added.

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