Angelina Jolie has visited the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) to discuss efforts to prevent sexual violence against women with military officials.
The film star and activist, who is a Special Envoy for the United Nations’ refugee agency, travelled to Brussels, Belgium on Wednesday (31Jan18) to meet with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and sat in on a meeting of the alliance’s Military Committee.
Angelina and committee members discussed how NATO members, including the U.K., U.S. France, and Germany can increase their efforts to stop violence against women around the world.
“Special Envoy Jolie and I have decided to work together, focusing on three points: training, monitoring and reporting, and awareness (of sexual violence),” Secretary General Stoltenberg said in a statement following their meeting.
Her trip to NATO headquarters came after she took her daughters Zahara, 13, and Shiloh Jolie-Pitt, 11, to visit Syrian refugees in a camp in Jordan last Sunday.
After revealing her kids had spent time playing with child refugees, the star said it was “heartbreaking” to see families displaced from their homes seven years after the beginning of the ongoing Syrian civil war.
Stoltenberg praised the star’s “great leadership” in highlighting the problem of sexual violence, which has been prevalent in Syria since the start of the war, and promised “we must shine a bright light on these darkest of crimes”.
Their meeting comes after Angelina and the Secretary General published a joint opinion piece titled ‘Why NATO must defend women’s rights’ in British newspaper The Guardian last December.
In their article they wrote, “It is humanity’s shame that violence against women, whether in peaceful societies or during times of war, has been universally regarded as a lesser crime. There is finally hope that we can change this. We owe it to ourselves – men and women alike – and to future generations.”