An­gelina Jolie to speak at UN sum­mit in Van­cou­ver

Ac­tress slated to give key­note ad­dress at next week’s event

Metro Canada (Vancouver) - - NEWS -

Academy Award-win­ning ac­tress An­gelina Jolie is ex­pected to lend her star power to next week’s peace­keep­ing sum­mit in Van­cou­ver.

A draft pro­gram for the two­day meet­ing leaked to The Canadian Press says Jolie will de­liver a key­note ad­dress at the event, ap­pear­ing as a spe­cial en­voy of the UN High Com­mis­sioner for Refugees and co-founder of the Pre­vent­ing Sex­ual Vi­o­lence Ini­tia­tive.

The topic of Jolie’s Nov. 15 ad­dress is not listed, but the Lib­eral gov­ern­ment has pushed for the sum­mit to in­clude dis­cus­sions about in­creas­ing gen­der equal­ity in peace­keep­ing and end­ing sex­ual abuse by war­ring fac­tions — and peace­keep­ers them­selves.

Af­ter long ig­nor­ing the is­sue of sex­ual vi­o­lence in war, the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity has in re­cent years stepped up its ef­forts to end rape and other sex­ual crimes in con­flict zones and to hold per­pe­tra­tors to ac­count.

Jolie has been help­ing on that front; in June, for ex­am­ple, she sat down at a train­ing cen­tre in Kenya with peace­keep­ers, po­lice and civil so­ci­ety groups to talk about how to pre­vent and re­spond to sex­ual vi­o­lence.

“This is not sim­ply about law and hu­man de­cency. It is about mil­i­tary ef­fec­tive­ness,’’ she said at the time.

“If civil­ians do not have con­fi­dence in you as peace­keep­ers, your mis­sion will not suc­ceed. And while this train­ing is clearly only a be­gin­ning, it is the only way that we will be­gin to ad­dress the prob­lems: work­ing na­tion by na­tion to raise stan­dards and in­crease ef­fec­tive­ness.’’

Yet the UN has also strug­gled with rev­e­la­tions that peace­keep­ers them­selves have ei­ther sex­u­ally abused or ex­ploited the very peo­ple they were to pro­tect in a num­ber of coun­tries.

Canadian peace­keep­ers have been among those im­pli­cated: UN fig­ures show that three Canadian po­lice of­fi­cers de­ployed to Haiti have been ac­cused of sex­ual abuse or ex­ploita­tion since 2015.

The most re­cent case was in March, an in­ci­dent the UN and Canadian au­thor­i­ties are still in­ves­ti­gat­ing, while one of the other of­fi­cers from 2015 was sent home for what the UN termed “ad­min­is­tra­tive ac­tion.’’

The third in­ci­dent, also from 2015, is still un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion. The al­leged per­pe­tra­tors have not been pub­licly iden­ti­fied.

Canada pledged $600,000 in Septem­ber to a spe­cial UN fund set up to sup­port vic­tims of sex­ual abuse and ex­ploita­tion by peace­keep­ers, while For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter Chrys­tia Free­land promised to do more last week.

“There can be no im­punity for these crimes. Not for sol­diers. Not for civil­ians. Not for those sent to keep the peace or pro­vide as­sis­tance,’’ Free­land said while un­veil­ing a five-year plan to boost the role of women in peace and se­cu­rity.

Jolie’s speech is listed as one of two key­note ad­dresses at the Van­cou­ver peace­keep­ing sum­mit, which kicks off Nov. 14 and is ex­pected to play host to rep­re­sen­ta­tives from 80 coun­tries, in­clud­ing ap­prox­i­mately 50 de­fence min­is­ters.

The other will be de­liv­ered by U.S. deputy sec­re­tary of de­fence Pa­trick Shana­han. Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau is also sched­uled to at­tend, along­side Free­land and De­fence Min­is­ter Har­jit Sa­j­jan.

Re­tired gen­eral Romeo Dal­laire is also ex­pected to be at the sum­mit, where Canada and other coun­tries will roll out an ini­tia­tive aimed at pre­vent­ing the use of child sol­diers in war.

if civil­ians do not have con­fi­dence in you as peace­keep­ers, your mis­sion will not suc­ceed. An­gelina Jolie An­gelina Jolie, Spe­cial En­voy of the United Na­tions High Com­mis­sioner for Refugees at the United Na­tions in New York. Jolie is set to speak at the Nov. 15 sum­mit.

DON EM­MERT/AFP

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