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Angelina Jolie joins G-8 summit to urge end to sexual violence

Angelina Jolie adresses G-8 foreign ministers at a press conference held in London, England on Thursday, April 11, 2013.

April 11, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Angelina Jolie made an unexpected appearance at a press conference held by foreign ministers from the G-8 nations in London Thursday.

The Hollywood starlet, known for her humanitarian efforts, joined British Foreign Secretary William Hague to back an urgent cause: fighting sexual violence in military conflicts.

"Rape has been treated as something that simply happens in war," said Jolie, who serves as a special envoy for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. "Perpetrators have learned that they can get away with it, and victims have been denied justice. But wartime rape is not inevitable. This violence can be prevented and it must be confronted."

Jolie and Hague announced $36 million in additional funding from G-8 nations for a series of measures aimed at preventing warzone rape and sexual violence. Hague said some funding is also set to go towards training military personnel on how to respond to sexual violence.

"This in my mind is the slave trade of our generation," Hague said. "Now that we have put warzone rape on the international agenda, it must never slip off it again and it must be given even greater prominence."

The G-8 ministers also made the "historic" declaration that rape and serious sexual violence in conflicts constitute war crimes and grave breaches of the Geneva conventions. The formal announcement urges nations to search for and hold attackers of such crimes accountable.

"Peace requires justice", Jolie said before thanking the G-8 ministers for their courageous work in making the global issue of rape a top-priority.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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