Angelina Jolie, acting as a special envoy for the UN High Commission on Refugees, opened a four-day conference in London today (June 10) focused on ways to help rape victims in war zones.
“They live in refugee camps, on bombed-out streets, in areas where there is no law, no protection, and not even the hope of justice,” she told the audience.
She was joined by British Foreign Secretary William Hague and attendees from 117 countries, according to the Hauge.
Jolie has taken her work as a special envoy, largely a ceremonial role, very seriously. She’s visited a number of war torn countries from Bosnia to Cambodia and Afghanistan.
She’s also visited Middle Eastern countries like Somalia and Syria to hear the concerns of refugees.
For women and girls, rape is a major threat any time civil order breaks down. The crime is probably as old as war itself. Hague characterized rape as one of the “great mass crimes” of the last two hundred years.
It’s been a particular problem in undeveloped countries torn by seemingly unending civil wars.
The conference hopes to come up with ways to investigate and prosecute cases of sexual violence and provide support for rape victims.
Jolie spoke personally about a rape victim she met in Bosnia. The woman felt so humiliated by the crime, she couldn’t bear to tell her child.
The crime went unpunished, and the woman said she has seen her rapist on the street. “She really felt abandoned by the world,” Jolie said. “This day is for her.”