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Angelina Jolie Marks Refugee Day With African Girls

UN refugee agency special envoy Angelina Jolie marks Refugee Day with African girls

Angelina Jolie on Tuesday marked World Refugee Day in Kenya with young girls victimized by sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).

According to Anadolu Agency, the actress, representing the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), spent the day with around 20 girls who have all fled extreme violence or persecution in the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Somalia, Burundi, and Rwanda, calling them “the very people peacekeeping exists to serve and protect.”

“All these young girls had been robbed of their childhood by sexual and gender-based violence,” she said at the International Peace Support Training Centre in the capital Nairobi, a training site for UN and African Union Peacekeepers.

“I met a girl the same age as my eldest son, who is already a mother to a child born of rape, I met an 18-year-old girl, utterly traumatized, who had been physically forced to take part in the murder of her own father and mother,” she said.

Jolie said that the reality is that anyone can be raped with near-total impunity in conflict zones around the world, attacks which are at times carried out by peacekeepers sent to protect them.

“When abuses are carried out by peacekeepers, as you know, it destroys the very purpose of peacekeeping, which is to protect civilian life,” she explained.

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