Angelina Jolie urges UNSC to tackle war-zone sexual violence

United Nations, June 25 (IANS) Hollywood actress and UN special envoy Angelina Jolie has urged the UN Security Council to tackle sexual violence in war zones, saying every country is affected by sexual violence and all have a responsibility to step forward.

Addressing a debate on women and peace and security at the Security Council, Jolie, the Special Envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), emphasised the responsibility of the Security Council to step in and provide leadership and assistance for the countries who cannot act themselves on the issue.

"These crimes happen not because they are inherent to war, but because the global climate allows it," Xinhua quoted Jolie as saying.

"I understand that there are many things that are difficult for the UN Security Council to agree on. But sexual violence in conflict should be not be one of them," the Oscar-winning actress said.

"That it is a crime to rape young children is not something I imagine anyone in this room would not be able to agree on," she said.

The Oscar-winner stressed that what is needed is political will.

She said every country in the world is affected by sexual violence, and all countries have a responsibility to step forward.

"Rape as a weapon of war is an assault on security and a world in which these crimes happen is one in which there is not, and never will be, peace."

"If the Security Council sets rape and sexual violence in conflict as a priority, it will become one and progress will be made. If you do not, this horror will continue," the famed actress said.

Jolie, who has visited several refugee camps around the world, spoke for the victims of sexual violence in conflicts that "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".

Soon after Jolie finished her speech, the 15-member UN body voted unanimously to approve a resolution, by which it emphasised more consistent and rigorous investigation and prosecution of sexual violence crimes as a central aspect of deterrence, and ultimately prevention.

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