Travelling with the British Foreign Secretary William Hague, Jolie is heading to the war-torn area, where sexual violence against women is used as a war tool. The work is part of her role as special envoy to the U.N.’s refugee agency.
Both rebel groups and Congolese soldiers have come under fire, supposedly using rape as a weapon in warfare. The International Rescue Committee claims to have provided care to over 2,500 women and girls who have been sexually abused over the past year, according to the Associated Press. The group are handing out kits which include flashlights, whistles, and cleaning products, to help them avoid bathing in areas where they may be at risk of assault.
Jolie and Hague will also meet with political leaders to discuss broader long-term solutions to the problems in the area.
Timing is paramount for this visit; with the annual G8 Summit only three weeks away in London, the actress and the foreign secretary are hoping to call on Great Britain, the USA, France, Canada, Japan, Germany, Russia, and Italy, “to agree landmark measures to secure justice for survivors of sexual violence and deter perpetrators. These include a new International Protocol on the Documentation and Investigation of Rape and Sexual Violence, agreement that rape and sexual violence constitute grave breaches of the Geneva Convention so that universal jurisdiction can apply, and practical commitments to help affected countries.”
“What we’re saying and what we’re here to do is to scale it up and make this a worldwide focus, and it’s due time,” says Jolie.