, UNITED NATIONS, Jun 24 – Screen star Angelina Jolie on Monday criticised UN Security Council powers for their lack of action over wartime rapes, invoking Syria and other conflicts in a surprise speech to the body.
Ambassadors from Russia, China, the United States, France and Britain – bitterly divided over the Syria war – listened as Jolie chided them for failing to take seriously the hundreds of thousands of victims of sexual attacks in conflict.
“The world has yet to take up war zone rape as a serious priority,” the actress said, at a meeting organized by Britain as president of the council for June.
Jolie, getting into top gear lobbying again after undergoing a double mastectomy operation, appeared before the council after visiting refugee camps for Syrians in Jordan last week.
Her presence was announced just before the meeting.
She told the diplomats of how she had met a woman in Jordan who had been raped in Syria but was afraid to give her name because she feared she would be killed for speaking out.
On another trip she had met the mother of a five-year-old girl raped outside a police station in Goma in strife-torn eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
Both were “victims of a culture of impunity” because there have been so few prosecutions, Jolie told UN ambassadors and UN leader Ban Ki-moon. “That is the sad, upsetting and indeed shameful reality.”
“I understand that there are many difficult things for the Security Council to agree on, but sexual violence in conflict should not be one of them,” Jolie said.
“The UN Security Council must step in and provide leadership and assistance,” she said.