UK Politics

Hague and Jolie unveil plan to end war rape

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Media captionAngelina Jolie: "There is no disgrace in being a survivor of sexual violence"

William Hague and UN special envoy Angelina Jolie are seeking global support for a new plan to end impunity for sex crimes committed in war zones.

The British foreign secretary said changing attitudes on the practice "will effect domestic situations all over the world".

The pair have been hosting a London summit on the issue.

Hollywood actress Ms Jolie said the goal was to make it possible to obtain justice even in fragile countries.

The proposed protocol was released during the four-day summit aimed at focusing world attention on the problem.

'Complex problem'

"If we can show militias and armies that they do not do this, even in a conflict in the future, that will effect how men treat women or any vulnerable person in the future," he told BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour.

"It's an immense and complex problem but it's progress that 123 governments have sent their representatives here to talk about something that many of them would not have talked about at all two years ago."

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Image caption Mr Hague has visited several war zones with Ms Jolie to meet victims of sexual violence in recent years

Mr Hague said they needed to win over governments and use social media on a large scale to draw attention to the problem.

"This is actually about more than an important moral of course - it's about people being able to live peacefully, side by side."

Mr Hague said it was very important that immigration officials in this country were trained in how to deal with victims of sexual violence who sought asylum in the UK.

Home Secretary Theresa May has made it clear that priority will be given to people who are vulnerable to violence, including cases of sexual violence, he said.

Ms Jolie told Woman's Hour she realised how important it was to work with a government official, like Mr Hague, "who can influence the laws and change the laws".

Speaking later at a screening of In The Land of Blood and Honey - Ms Jolie's film set during the Bosnian war - Mr Hague said the campaign showed that foreign policy was "no longer the preserve of governments".

"She (Ms Jolie) has the power to speak to the whole world, to raise awareness, change attitudes," he said. "Governments like the one I am a member of hold in their hands levers of decision-making and action.

"And this combination can be formidable. And is in many respects a strong example of the future of foreign policy and how it should be conducted."

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