UN Special Envoy Angelina Jolie calls for end to empty promises on sexual violence against women

September 9, 2016 6:45 am

Special Envoy is greeted by Vice Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Gordon Messenger in . Photo / AP

Angelina Jolie has called for a “new way” of peacekeeping focused on justice and inclusion of women during a surprise visit to a UN summit in London.
The Special Envoy for Refugees used her speech to defence ministers from around the world to highlight the “shamefully empty” promises that have left women vulnerable to sexual violence.
“We know that decades have been spent establishing conventions and resolutions enshrining rights and protection for women and vulnerable groups. But yet, if you are a woman in Syria, Somalia, the Central African Republic and any nation stricken by conflict, these are still shamefully empty promises,” she said.
“And we also know that the credibility of UN peacekeeping has been sadly undermined, by the actions of a few, in intolerable cases of women and children sexually exploited by the very people charged with protecting them.”

The actor called for justice to be delivered to women in the field as the world grows disillusioned with “commitments on paper that are not met in reality”.

Angelina Jolie with US Defence Secretary Ash Carter at a UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial meeting, in London. Photo / AP

“In my view from my experiences in the field, prosecutions around the world would mean more to survivors of violence than any number of new Security Council Resolutions,” she said.
“I have heard that from refugee women, whose sense of injustice and demand for accountability burn strong.”
The Peacekeeping conference includes pledges to double the women in UN military and policing operations within four years and integrate women into the entire military operation.
It also aims to stamp out the horrific sexual violence scandals that have rocked the organisation after allegations of rape of young girls were made against peacekeepers in Africa last year.
“Peacekeeping forces can only gain and keep the trust of a local population if they are able to engage with women as well as men in that community,” Ms Jolie said.
Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne chaired a panel on the role of women in peacekeeping at the event which included speakers from Norway, the UK, Japan and Bangladesh.
“I’m proud to say Australia has been a strong advocate for women [in the military]” she said, adding that around 12 per cent of the armed forces are female.
“We are proud to be doing our part to increase the number of women serving in operations.”
UK Minister of Defence vice chief of staff Sir Gordon Messenger echoed the message that women need to have greater representation in order to ensure missions are “as effective” as they can be.
“A diverse organisation is a more effective organisation,” said the former commander in Southern Afghanistan.
“If you have women in the front line the general behaviour of the force improves as a result.”

UN Special Envoy Angelina Jolie called for justice to be delivered to women in the field as the world grows disillusioned with “commitments on paper that are not met in reality”. Photo / AP

Norwegian Defence Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide – whose country has universal conscription said getting men to engage with the idea is hugely important.
“Women can go on preaching to the converted, [but] it doesn’t help anything if we cannot engage male agents of change,” she said.
“This is not a ‘sisters are doing it for themselves’ campaign. This is something much more serious we all need to work on.”
The Defence Ministerial summit comes amid reports former Australian base in Afghanistan Tarin Kot was on the verge of being recaptured by Taliban fighters.
UK Defence Minister Michael Fallon ended the conference by assuring a “zero tolerance approach to sexual exploitation” where “any peacekeeper found guilty will be held accountable.”
He also pledged to “transform peacekeeping in the 21s century” and said “too few women wear the blue helmet.”
The host nations focused on the “three Ps” of peacekeeping – planning, performance and pledges – to allow teams to quickly deploy and with the right information.
Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will meet with their UK counterparts in London Friday.
Skip to toolbar
shared on wplocker.com