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Jolie: Let's unite to end scourge of warzone rape

Angelina Jolie and William Hague have launched a new offensive against sexual violence in a global summit to tackle the issue.

At the opening of a four-day Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, at London's ExCel centre, the Foreign Secretary announced that Britain is to spend an extra £6m to support rape victims in war zones.

"The time has come to end the use of rape in war once and for all and we believe it can be done," he declared.

Mr Hague appealed for international support, with government delegates from 117 countries arriving at the summit tomorrow.

"If we unite behind this cause we can create an unstoppable momentum and consign this vile abuse to history," he said.

He described the rape of people during war as "a moral issue for our generation" and added: "We want this summit to shatter the culture of impunity for sexual violence."

There needs to be a change in attitudes so that the stigma is shifted away from the victims, he said.

Ms Jolie, the Special Envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, made an impassioned plea for action.

The Hollywood star dedicated the four-day event to an unnamed and "abandoned" victim of rape in Bosnia. She said the woman was too humiliated to tell her own child that she had been raped – and had seen her attacker "on the streets, free".

"We need to treat this subject as a priority," she said.

"This whole subject has been taboo for far too long. Warzone rape is a crime that thrives on silence and denial." New protocols aimed at ensuring rapists are brought to justice will be announced today, with governments to negotiate an international agreement on standards for documenting and investigating sexual violence in conflict zones. Campaigners are also pressing for armies to be trained to prevent sexual violence in conflict zones and for more support for survivors.

Rapists feel above the law, because the law rarely touches them and society tolerates them, said Jolie.

"This evil will continue, ruining the lives of millions of people, unless we make this summit a turning point.

"We must send a message around the world that there is no disgrace in being a survivor of sexual violence, that the shame is with the aggressor."

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