Angelina Jolie will stop at nothing in her efforts to end sexual violence in war-torn zones.
It’s now been five years since the actress launched her Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative, and on Monday, she returned to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London to commemorate the milestone.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees joined former Foreign Secretary Lord Hague and Baroness Anelay as part of a discussion panel in speaking out against sexual assault.
“When this kind of violence and abuse happens in peacetime, we are absolutely clear it is a crime that deserves to be punished by law,” Jolie told People. “But when it happens in the middle of a conflict, on a mass scale, with such brutal violence, it is treated as something impossible to prevent or somehow justified by the climate of war.”
Jolie is now pushing her latest initiative, Time to Act, which urges officials to hold sexual offenders accountable for their war crimes. The 41-year-old also launched the second version of the International Protocol on the Documentation and Investigation of Sexual Violence (PSVI) in Conflict — a tool used by field workers to collect evidence.
“All of us here know that this is simply not good enough,” she continued. “We are tired of the excuses put forward, time and again, to justify neglecting crimes that disproportionately affect women and children, and that contribute to the holding back of women’s rights in many countries for generation after generation.”
She added, “all of us involved in PSVI are proud of the work so far, but with much more to do we are very focused on the next steps.”
As Lord Hague noted, millions are still at risks of being sexually assaulted in many war zones, including Syria, Iraq, Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and northern Nigeria.
Back in 2014, Jolie and Lord Hague teamed up to launch a summit on sexual violence in conflict, bringing together 123 country delegations.