Angelina Jolie joins forces with NATO to tackle crimes against women in war zones

The UNHCR special envoy is meeting with NATO leadership in Brussels.

Jolie, who arrived in Belgium after visiting the massive Jordanian refugee camp of Zaatari, is pushing to “create greater accountability and deterrence against crimes against women in conflict zones around the world.”

Speaking to reporters, she said that the international community was not doing enough to address the sexual attacks in war zones and the increasing prevalence of rape as a weapon of war.

She said that systematic sexual violence in conflict “has been increasingly regarded as an inevitable feature of conflict, and as a lesser crime or a problem too difficult or too uncomfortable for societies to address.”

Jolie also held meetings with the North Atlantic Council and Military Committee and will conduct further talks with NATO political representatives and commanders.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said his organization has the “responsibility to be a leading protector of women's rights” and described crimes against women in conflict zones as a method of “political control, terrorism and ethnic cleansing.”

Stoltenberg said the alliance was working to address rape in war zones, such as increasing the number of women serving in the military and improving the process of reporting sexual violence.

Her remarks followed a report by Human Rights Watch that alleged systematic rape against women and girls was a widespread feature of the Myanmar military’s campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Muslim minority.

She said that the international community should “hang our heads in how little we have done” to protect vulnerable Rohingya refugees.