Angelina Jolie speaks at AU Summit

2015-06-12 15:46
Angelina Jolie. (Greatstock/EPA)

Johannesburg - Hollywood actress and UN envoy on refugee issues, Angelina Jolie-Pitt spoke at a panel discussion ahead of this weekends AU Summit held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

She highlighted the fact that sexual crimes against women are becoming the weapon of choice for armed groups all over the world because these often happen without punishment.

"The near-total impunity that exists worldwide for crimes against women in conflict zones in particular, means that we are seeing more and more armed groups turn it into their weapon of choice," said Angelina, who was dressed in a long, sleeveless charcoal dress.

With her hair drawn up in a pony tail highlighting large pearl earrings, Angelina said that women and girls are bearing the brunt of extremists. "This is inextricably linked to our overall failure to prevent and end conflicts worldwide, which is causing human suffering on an unprecedented level."

Angelina, who is the UNHCR special envoy and who kept the 200 or so diplomats and leaders waiting for half an hour, spoke as part of a high-level panel on women, peace and security, which included AU Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and former British foreign secretary William Hague, who is working with Angelina on an initiative to deal with sexual crimes against women in conflict zones.

Angelina says that 50 million people have been displaced by war today, more than half of which are women and children.

(Angelina Jolie. Greatstock/EPA)

"This means more women and children are exposed to violence, countless more girls out of school who are vulnerable to rape and sexual slavery, generations whose talents are lost to their home communities and to humanity as a whole," she went on to add.

And while Angelina says this is certainly not an African problem, it is a global one, she did say that African nations have suffered the most.

She called on societies who are at peace to lead in the fight against sexual violence against women and said men should work alongside women in this fight.

Her arrival was met with excitement by members of the press and delegates.

Yesterday, Angelina spent the day meeting activists as well as survivors of sexual violence (See that story here). It's also believed that she may do some charity work while in SA before she is expected to leave the country over the weekend.
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