Angelina Jolie Speaks at African Union Summit: 'There Is a Global Epidemic of Violence Against Women'
By Rosalyn Oshmyansky
Angelina Jolie is taking on a global issue and encouraging world support.
The 40-year-old actress is the special envoy to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, and on Friday, she used her position to speak to a room of delegates at the African Union Summit about rape as a weapon of warfare and asked African representatives to support women's rights.
"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 said.
"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 added. "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."
Her words were as eloquent and empowering as ever.
"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," Jolie pointed out. "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."
The panel included African Union Commission Chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, former British Foreign Secretary William Hague as well as other prominent delegates.
"Think what it would mean if the 54 nations of the African Union press as one toward full rights and opportunities for women, not just for this great continent but for the world," Jolie stated.
This of course isn't the first time that Jolie has spoken to world leaders. She asked for greater support for the Syrian refugee crisis in April and has been participating in humanitarian missions around the world to meet with refugees and advocate for them.