Continuing her dedicated humanitarian work, Angelina Jolie visited The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) headquarters in Brussels, Belgium to urge the organisation to prioritise ending sexual violence against women.
The 42-year-old Oscar-winning actress met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in her role as co-founder of the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative. The pair discussed ways to prevent sexual violence against women, before holding a press conference where they disclosed the details of their conversation.
“There can be no lasting peace and security without equal rights and participation for women in all societies,” Jolie declared. “Those rights cannot be achieved in an environment where there is impunity for mass crimes against women and girls. This is not only a question of protecting women; this is a question of valuing women.”
In December, Jolie and Stoltenberg co-wrote an article for The Guardian titled “Why Nato must defend women’s rights”. The piece claimed that the NATO alliance could serve as a role model and protector of women’s rights, working to end gender-based violence. “In our different roles we have seen how conflicts in which women’s bodies and rights are systematically abused last longer, cause deeper wounds and are much harder to resolve and overcome” Jolie wrote. “Ending gender-based violence is therefore a vital issue of peace and security as well as of social justice.”
Jolie has worked with the United Nations since 2001 and was appointed a Special Envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in 2012. She served as a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN form 2001-2012, carrying out 60 field missions during this time.
The Brussels visit was one of many stops on Jolie’s European tour, which has already seen her meet France’s First Lady Brigitte Macron to discuss resolving conflict in Syria.