BRUSSELS -- Angelina Jolie, the Hollywood star and special UN envoy for refugees, has said that the use of rape as a "weapon of war" must not be accepted and urged NATO to take the lead in the deterrence of crimes against women in conflict zones.
Jolie spoke alongside NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg following talks at the headquarters of the Western military alliance on January 31.
"We talked today about NATO's potential role in helping to create greater global accountability and deterrence for crimes against women in conflict zones, to increase the representation of women in militaries, and to strengthen training and doctrine to make NATO the global military leader in this area," Jolie said.
"Violence against women and children, particularly sexual violence, is an increasing feature of conflict and insecurity worldwide," Jolie said. "Yet the use of rape as a weapon of war has been regarded an inevitable feature of conflict as a lesser crime and a problem too difficult, or too uncomfortable, for societies to address."
Jolie and Stoltenberg both said that they might visit Afghanistan to look into the issue of sexual abuse of boys and girls in the war-ravaged country.
There has been "some improvement" in Afghanistan, but "there are lot more things to be done," Jolie said. "One of the countries we have been focusing on...is Afghanistan, for this very reason."
Jolie was appointed as a special envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 2012, after years of involvement in the UNHCR and the cause of helping refugees.