LONDON – Angelina Jolie has opened a centre to help combat warzone violence against women.
The 39-year-old actress and former UK foreign secretary William Hague joined forces to announce the new academic centre, titled the Centre on Women, Peace and Security, at the London School of Economics (LSE) yesterday (10.02.15).
The ‘Unbroken’ director – who recently returned from Iraq, where she met millions of refugees left homeless due to Islamic State (Isis) violence – said: “I am excited at the thought of all the students in years to come who will study in this new centre.
“There is no stable future for a world in which crimes committed against women go unpunished. We need the next generation of educated youth with inquisitive minds and fresh energy, who are willing not only to sit in the classroom but to go out into the field and the courtrooms and to make a decisive difference.”
The centre aims to educate people and raise awareness about the horrific acts which women suffer in warzones and hopes to end exemption from punishment for those who commit rape and sexual violence in war.
Angelina – who has six children, Maddox, 13, Pax, 11, Zahara, 10, Shiloh, eight, and six-year-old twins Vivienne and Knox with husband Brad Pitt – also spoke about the importance of the centre for people such as an Iraqi girl she recently met who was a victim of sexual violence.
The brunette said: “If you were to ask me who I think this centre is for, I picture someone who is not in this room today.
“I think of a girl I met in Iraq three weeks ago. She is 13 years old, but instead of going to school, she sits on the floor in a makeshift tent.
“Now she may never be able to complete her education, or get married or have a family, because in her society victims of rape are shunned, and considered shameful. To my mind, what we have begun today at LSE is for that Iraqi girl and others like her.”
Hague – who has worked with Angelina to fight this cause for the past three years – read out messages of support from likely US presidential election candidate Hilary Clinton and revealed the UK government will be providing ï¿½1 million for the centre
He said: “Crimes against women have been accorded a lesser priority throughout history.
“Sexual violence in conflict involves the deliberate targeting of women and children and men, in ways that often simply defy the power of description.” – Bernama