Friday, June 12, 2015




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William Hague vows to exploit ‘unusual alliance’ with Angelina Jolie-Pitt for greater good

Former foreign secretary and Conservative Party leader joins Hollywood actress and director at African Union summit to urge leaders to clamp down on sexual violence in their countries


William Hague, the former British foreign secretary, has vowed to use his “unusual alliance” with Angelina Jolie-Pitt to continue fighting sexual violence in the world’s most troubled regions.
Mr Hague said he and the Hollywood actress had accepted a rare invitation for outsiders to an African Union summit in Johannesburg in a bid to persuade largely male African leaders to take responsibility for the epidemic.

Mrs Jolie-Pitt told African foreign ministers that a groundswell of support for womens’ rights by their citizens meant their remaining in power depended on upholding them.

She said that sexual violence was not a uniquely African problem but added: “few parts of the world have suffered as much as nations in Africa”.

“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,” she 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 to it as a weapon of choice: Women and girls are bearing the brunt of extremists that revel in treating them barbarically.”

Her appearance at the concrete convention centre in Sandton, Johannesburg’s business capital, enlivened the usually stolid proceedings and drew a large crowd to the centre’s main auditorium.
Mr Hague said the pair would continue to press their Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative, which they established in 2012, until they saw tangible changes by governments.

“It can be done – we are starting to make progress and there are a number of countries in Africa changing laws and training security forces to prevent it from happening,” he told The Telegraph.

“This is a key responsibility for men as well as women. There are a lot of male foreign ministers around that table and these crimes are committed by men and we men alongside leading women have to make sure they are challenged.”

The Yorkshire-born former Conservative Party leader conceded his pairing with Lara Croft actress drew attention and said he was happy to exploit it for the greater good.

“It’s an unusual alliance absolutely but it does seem to work in drawing attention to the issue and drawing support: the diplomacy of a major country like the UK and the global recognition and reach of someone like Angelina Jolie-Pitt," he said. "Because we have now worked on it for three years, we are sufficiently well-known around the world for doing it and we get a hearing.”


















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