Angelina Jolie made an appearance at the United Nations in New York City to further her work in fighting to eradicate sexual violence during war

By Ale Russian
March 29, 2019 04:34 PM
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Angelina Jolie delivered a rousing speech advocating for more women to join the United Nations’ peacekeeping force.

The 43-year-old activist and actress, who has been working with the UN Refugee Agency for 18 years, appeared in front of the UN Defense Peacekeeping Ministerial in America for the first time on Friday. She was outfitted for the event in a Ryan Roche coat and Cartier jewelry.

Jolie was appointed special envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in 2012 and has since traveled the world advocating for refugees and women and children, in particular.

This time, the Oscar winner furthered her work in fighting to eradicate sexual violence during war.

“Around the world there are countless examples of women rising, taking leadership, taking their destiny into their own hands, inspiring all of us. But women and girls are still the majority of the victims of war. They are over half of all refugees, and the vast majority of the victims of rape and other sexual and gender-based violence,” she said in her speech.

WATCH: Angelina Jolie Travels to Jordan with Daughters Shiloh and Zahara to Meet with Syrian Refugees

“Women are at the absolute epicenter of modern conflict, in the worst possible sense,” she continued. ‘But more often than not they are still on the outside looking in when it comes to politics and decisions about their future. If we went by the principle that those affected by a problem should be in charge of determining the solution, then the majority of the world’s peace negotiators, foreign ministers and diplomats would be women. We all know the reality.”

Bintou Keita (United Nations Assistant-Secretary General for Africa), Angelina Jolie (U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees special envoy), and U.N. Peacekeeper Lt. Cmdr. Marcia Andrade Braga
Bebeto Matthews/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Jolie went on to call for more women to take places in leadership positions in the peacekeeping missions, and for nations around the country to include women in the highest positions of decision making.

“Denying half a population representation in peace negotiations or in government is not the route to long-term stability,” she said. “As long as we continue to put almost every other issue ahead of women’s rights and participation, we will remain stuck in a cycle of violence and conflict. We will have learnt nothing. And our institutions will count for far less than they should.”

Bebeto Matthews/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Jolie, who is making her return to the big screen in the fall with Disney’s Magnificent 2, ended her speech by outlining how things need to change to meet that goal.

“There is still much more to do to increase the number of women in the ranks of peacekeeping missions. Having met some formidable female peacekeepers this morning I think this change cannot come soon enough for the effectiveness and impact of UN peacekeeping,” she said.

“New actions by your governments in all these areas can make a huge difference. But I believe they must also be accompanied by commitments to ensure women’s representation in peace negotiations, to be consistent in the defense of women’s rights, in all places, and to address the deep-seated societal reasons for inequality and violence against women,” Jolie explained.