Friday, June 12, 2015

JOHANNESBURG: Actress Angelina Jolie Friday appealed to African leaders attending a summit in Johannesburg to confront the "near total impunity" that hampers efforts to tackle violence against women across the continent.
Speaking at a forum ahead of the Africa Union summit starting Sunday, Jolie said that sexual attack such as rape was the "weapon of choice" in many conflict zones as perpetrators seldom face justice.
"Violence against women is still treated as a lesser crime," said Jolie, who is the U.N. special envoy for refugees.
"Armed groups turn it into a weapon of choice because of near total impunity.
"It is clear that this is not an African problem but a global one, but few places have suffered as Africa."
Dozens of heads of state from across the continent will attend two days of meetings in South Africa's economic capital on the theme of the "Year of Women Empowerment and Development."
"Please think what it would mean if the 54 nations of the AU press together as one towards full rights and opportunities for women," said Jolie, an experienced campaigner on violence against women in conflict zones.
Among Africa's conflict hotspots are the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Burundi and South Sudan.


Hollywood actress and UN envoy on refugee issues, Angelina Jolie-Pitt, attends a discussion ahead of this weekends AU Summit in Johannesburg, Friday, June 12, 2015. Jolie-Pitt highlighted the fact that sexual crimes against women are becoming the weapon of choice for armed groups all over the world because these often happen without punishment. (AP Photo/Shiraaz Mohamed)


Her arrival was met with excitement by members of the press and delegates.
Yesterday, Angelina spent the day meeting activists as well as survivors of sexual violence. It's also believed that she may do some charity work while in SA before she is expected to leave the country over the weekend.

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