NEW YORK: Even as the UN Security Council on Tuesday unanimously adopted resolution 2106 seeking more consistent and rigorous investigation and prosecution of sexual violence crimes, Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie urged the UN to take war zone rapes as a `serious priority’.
Also addressing the debate, Angelina Jolie, who is the Special Envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, `hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of women, children and men have raped in conflicts in our lifetimes.’’
The actress said tackling war-zone sexual violence is the Council’s responsibility, as well as the duty of governments in countries affected by it.
But if governments fail to act, the Security Council must step in.
“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,” she 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.”
What was needed, the actress said, was political will. Every country in the world is affected by sexual violence, and all countries have a responsibility to step forward.
“But the starting point must be you, the UN Security Council – shouldering your responsibilities and showing leadership… 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,’’ Angelina Jolie said.
The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura, said it is still largely “cost-free” to rape a woman, child or man in conflict.
“But for the first time in history, we can reverse this reality. It will require leadership and political courage, and a relentless determination to match the cold, calculating brutality of those who would rape the innocent for military or political gain.”
She lauded the adoption of resolution 2106, saying it reinforces a compliance-based regime based on reliable and timely information and analysis, and on the actions that must be taken at the political, strategic and tactical levels on the basis of such information.