What Angelina Jolie said to the UN Security Council about rape

Anglina Jolie speaks before a United Nations Security Council meeting on women, peace, security and sexual violence in conflict at UN headquarters in New York.
(Stan Honda / AFP / Getty Images)

Angelina Jolie testified Monday as a special envoy for refugees in front of the United Nations Security Council. The Oscar-winning actress spoke about war-zone rape to the organization’s highest council, which urged its members to unanimously adopt a resolution that rape can exacerbate conflicts and gets in the way of peace.

Jolie, 38, who recently disclosed that she underwent a preventive double mastectomy to stave off breast cancer, has long used her celebrity to bring attention to humanitarian issues. She magnified her testimony by highlighting some of the extreme examples of rape that she’s come across while visiting refugee camps.

“Hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of women, children and men have been raped in conflicts in our lifetimes,” she said, according to the Associated Press.

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“You set the bar,” she told the council, which was presided over by British Foreign Secretary William Hague. “If the … 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.”

“Young girls raped and impregnated before their bodies are able to carry a child, causing fistula,” she said to the debate on sexual violence in conflict, according to Reuters.

“Boys held at gunpoint and forced to sexually assault their mothers and sisters. Women raped with bottles, wood branches and knives to cause as much damage as possible. Toddlers and even babies dragged from their homes, and violated,” she added.

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“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,” Jolie said.

Last Thursday, Jolie, a U.N. goodwill ambassador, visited Jordan’s Za’atri refugee camp, the second-largest camp in the world, to shine a light on the plight of Syria’s refugees who were escaping to Jordan to flee their country’s civil war.

The camp was build to house 20,000 refugees but currently houses more than 120,000 refugees, according to CNN.

She also said that “the world has yet to take up war-zone rape as a serious priority.”

“These crimes happen not because they are inherent to war, but because the global climate allows it.”

Soon after her testimony, the council adopted a “legally binding resolution demanding the complete and immediate cessation of all acts of sexual violence by all parties to armed conflict,” according to AP, which said it is the broadest resolution adopted by the council on the topic of sexual violence in conflict.


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