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Angelina Jolie makes plea to end sexual violence in war zones at U.N.


Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie joined British Foreign Secretary William Hague at the United Nations on Monday to press Security Council members to help put an end to sexual violence in conflict areas around the world.

"The Security Council was established 67 years ago, and has witnessed 67 years of wars and conflict," the goodwill ambassador for the U.N. high commissioner for refugees said. "But the world has yet to take up warzone rape as a serious priority."

The 38-year-old spoke passionately of the survivors she met on her travels -- the mother of a five-year-old in Goma, in eastern Congo, whose daughter had been raped outside a police station in plain view and most recently a Syrian refugee in Jordan who asked that her name be withheld for fear of reprisal.

Not only are babies, young girls and women being raped, but boys are also held at gunpoint and forced to assault their own mothers and sisters in conflict zones, she explained.

"Rape is a tool of war," she added. "It is an act of aggression, and a crime against humanity."

Calling on the Security Council to adopt a resolution, which it later did unanimously, she encouraged the 15 member council to act together.

"You set the bar. If the United Nations Security Council sets rape and sexual violence in conflict as a priority it will become one and progress will be made," Jolie added. "If you do not, this horror will continue."

Under this month's presidency Britain called for the open debate on the theme of women and peace and security to be held.

"It is time to say that rape and sexual violence used as a weapon of war is unacceptable, that we know it can be prevented, and that we will act now to eradicate it: shouldering our responsibilities as national governments and collectively as the United Nations Security Council," Hague said in his remarks.