Press release

William Hague and Angelina Jolie on joint visit to Bosnia

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Foreign Secretary and UNHCR Special Envoy visit Bosnia ahead of Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict.

The Foreign Secretary The Rt Hon William Hague MP, and the Special Envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Angelina Jolie, are visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina one year after their field visit to meet survivors of rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Their visit comes ten weeks ahead of the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, which they will chair in London on 10-13 June 2014.

William Hague said:

Tens of thousands of women, girls and men were raped during the war in Bosnia. We are visiting to draw the world’s attention to their search for justice, and to call for global action to end the use of rape as a weapon of war once and for all. In London in ten weeks’ time we will be asking nations around the world to make that decisive commitment, so that from Bosnia to the DRC survivors get the justice they need, and future mass rape can be prevented. We can and must change the entire global attitude to these crimes, and shatter the culture of impunity.

Angelina Jolie said:

We are here to meet victims of the war in Bosnia, female and male survivors of rape who carry a terrible burden. The use of rape as a weapon of war is one of the great injustices of our time. For too long the world has tolerated these crimes, and left survivors to struggle in the shadows. Our goal is to bring forward the voices of the survivors of these crimes and to ask the world to stand with them and against impunity.

William Hague and Angelina Jolie will meet survivors of sexual violence still seeking justice for the crimes they endured during the Bosnian war (1992-1995), as well as the NGOs working to help them. They will meet judges and prosecutors working to address the huge backlog of sexual violence cases.

They will speak at a regional military conference of ministers and senior officers, and call for militaries to take a greater role in ending sexual violence in conflict during peacekeeping missions. The Foreign Secretary will announce UK funding for groundbreaking new training in preventing sexual violence in conflict, to equip troops who will be deployed on international peacekeeping and humanitarian operations.

The Foreign Secretary will later announce new UK funding that will enable 750 young people from Britain to visit Srebrenica over the next two years through the Remembering Srebrenica programme, so that the lessons from the Bosnian conflict are never forgotten. He will also announce UK assistance for Bosnia’s path towards EU membership, in the form of new funding to foster democratic governance in Bosnia by strengthening the judiciary, civil society organisations, transparency and supporting Bosnia’s EU accession process.

William Hague and Angelina Jolie will also meet Bosnia’s Presidency, other political leaders and representatives from civil society including of the plenums set up following February’s protests, to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing Bosnia today.

Further information

The visit to Bosnia is the latest stage of the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI), a global campaign launched two years ago by William Hague and Angelina Jolie. The visit to Bosnia by the William Hague and Angelina Jolie follows their joint visit to Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo in March 2013.

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