Angelina Jolie-Pitt has spoken out against the state of current peacekeeping missions, citing inequality and widespread abuse of power at a recent United Nations summit in London.
The UN Special Envoy called for a “new way of conducting peacekeeping” and urged countries to increase female involvement in peacekeeping missions.
“Peacekeeping forces can only gain and keep the trust of the local populations if they are able to engage with women, as well as men, in that community,” Jolie said. “When I met senior commanders a short while ago to discuss the challenges of the security tasks they faced, they were clear that women peacekeepers and police officers are essential to local consent and operational effectiveness.”
The UN peacekeeping summit was attended by delegates from 80 countries.
Jolie spoke about the abuses of power that have been undermining the UN’s missions abroad and called for prosecution of those who commit these crimes.
“We all know that the credibility of UN peacekeeping has been sadly undermined by the actions of a few intolerable cases of women and children being sexually exploited by the very people in charge of protecting them.”
The defence minister, Michael Fallon, agreed, stating that there had been “some shocking examples of poor performance that we can all deplore” and called for a “zero-tolerance approach” to the issue.
During the summit, an agreement was put to the participating countries that asked for a pledge to double the amount of women involved in peacekeeping missions over the next four years.
The agreement also specified that all outstanding allegations must be responded to immediately in order to eliminate all forms of abuse and exploitation.
“There is a dividing line between nations that are prepared to commit to this moment, to understand all that is necessary and all that we are capable of achieving together and those who are not,” said Jolie.
Calling for a united front, Jolie implored members of the summit to commit to the proposed outlines for change, or risk further alienating those they are meant to be protecting.
Angelina Jolie-Pitt has previously been a fierce campaigner for ending sexual violence in warzones and securing justice for victims of these violent crimes.