Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie, who campaigns against sexual violence in war zones, has told Sky News a “culture of impunity” is to blame for the abductions of hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls.
Islamist group Boko Haram has said it took the 276 girls from a boarding school in the village of Chibok in Borno state, north Nigeria, on April 14.
Abubakar Shekau, the group’s leader, has threatened to sell the girls “on the market” and some of the girls have reportedly already been trafficked to neighbouring Chad and Cameroon.
Speaking at the London premiere of the Disney move Maleficent, Jolie said: “These men thought that they can get away with this, that they could abuse them in such a way, sell them, rape them, take them as property, because so many people have gotten away with this in the past because of this culture of impunity.”
She added that the international community must “make sure this stops happening and that this is not something that people feel they can get away with, because right now it is and so it’s awful that it’s gotten to this point”.
The American actress – who is also a special envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees – will co-chair the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict at ExCel London in June with Foreign Secretary William Hague.
The pair recently attended a conference on sexual violence in conflict in Sarajevo together and hailed Bosnia’s decision to include rape prevention in military training as “groundbreaking”.
All governments who have endorsed the UN Declaration of Commitments to End Sexual Violence in Conflict will be invited to the summit.