Angelina Jolie Pitt attended the African Union Summit where she participated in a panel discussion about sexual crimes against women around the world. Jolie Pitt met with African Union chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, former British foreign minister William Hague, Senegalese activist Bineta Diop and Zainab Bangura, the United Nations Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict. Jolie and Hague co-founded the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative in 2012. The theme of this year’s summit was “Year of Women Empowerment and Development.”
“There is a global epidemic of violence against women—both within conflict zones and within societies at peace—and it is still treated as a lesser crime and lower priority,” Jolie Pitt told the audience. According to People, the actress-director traveled to Pretoria, South Africa for the biannual event. “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,” she continued. “Women and girls are bearing the brunt of extremists that revel in treating them barbarically. This is inextricably linked to our overall failure to prevent and end conflicts worldwide, which is causing human suffering on an unprecedented level.”
Of the African victims she has met, Jolie Pitt described them as having “extraordinary resilience, dignity and strength in the face of trials that would break any of us.” She added, “They are some of the most formidable and impressive people I have ever met and they deserve better than to be left alone to suffer.
Jolie Pitt ended the speech with a solution:
“We need policies for long-term security that are designed by women, focused on women, executed by women—not at the expense of men, or instead of men, but alongside and with men. There is no greater pillar of stability than a strong, free and educated woman, and there is no more inspiring role model than a man who respects and cherishes women and champions their leadership.”
Jolie Pitt is currently the Special Envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and was previously a UN Goodwill Ambassador.
Image via AP.
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