Angelina Jolie in Congo With William Hague, Meeting With Rape Survivors in Warzone

Image: Angelina Jolie in Congo With William Hague, Meeting With Rape Survivors in Warzone

Tuesday, 26 Mar 2013 08:38 AM

By Megan Anderle

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Angelina Jolie will meet with women and girls in Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, where sexual assaults are prevalent, serving her role as special envoy to the U.N.'s refugee agency.

The Oscar-winning actress and humanitarian traveled to Africa Monday with British Foreign Secretary William Hague, arriving at the Nzulo camp near Goma. The pair talked to some of the 10,000 rape victims housed there, as well as the staff helping to rehabilitate them, according to the Daily Mail.

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"This visit is about hearing first hand from people who have endured rape and sexual violence during the conflict in the Eastern DRC. We want to identify ways in which the international community can help them to rebuild their lives," Jolie told the Daily Mail.

In addition to meeting with survivors, the pair will also meet with local and U.N. groups helping them and political leaders.

Rebel groups and Congolese soldiers have been accused of using rape as a weapon of war, USA Today reported.

The International Rescue Committee Jolie works with says it has provided care to more than 2,500 women and girls who have been raped or abused over the past year, the Associated Press reported. The group will hand out kits with flashlights and whistles, as well as cleaning products so that women can avoid bathing at locations where the risk of being assaulted is higher.

The trip comes just before the annual G8 meeting, where Hague and Jolie will call on Great Britain, the United States, France, Canada, Japan, Germany, Russia, and Italy "to agree to landmark measures to secure justice for survivors of sexual violence and deter perpetrators. These include a new International Protocol on the Documentation and Investigation of Rape and Sexual Violence, agreement that rape and sexual violence constitute grave breaches of the Geneva Convention so that universal jurisdiction can apply, and practical commitments to help affected countries," USA Today reported.

Jolie is continuing the work she started with Hague in London last year, when they launched the UK’s Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative. The star's 2011 film "In The Land Of Blood And Honey," which depicted the experiences of women in the infamous rape camps set up during ethnic cleansing in Bosnia-Herzegovina, was a catalyst for the UK initiative, Hague's office told The Daily Mail.

The mother of six has highlighted the plight of refugees worldwide for over a decade in her role as a UN High Commissioner for Refugees Special Envoy.

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Related links

Angelina Jolie Touts Gun Ownership

Angelina Jolie Expresses Disappointment with President Obama

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