Angelina Jolie Pitt has warned that Islamic State (IS) is using rape as “policy” in a way the world has never seen before.
The Hollywood star urged more action to tackle the issue of sexual violence in conflict areas as she gave evidence to a committee of peers alongside former British foreign secretary William Hague.
Jolie Pitt, an envoy for the United Nations, told the hearing in the House of Lords in England that IS was explicitly saying to fighters: “We ask you to rape.
“They are dictating it as policy. This is beyond what we have seen before,” she said.
“It is actually put into their policy. They are saying, ’you should do this, this is the way to build a society’.”
The actress said: “They know it is a very effective weapon, and they are using it as the centre point of their terror.”
Mr Hague, himself soon to join the Lords, told the committee that highlighting the tactics of IS should be a key part of the international community’s “counter narrative”.
“This is a key part of the strategy of preventing sexual violence going forward now,” he said.
Baroness Helic, a former adviser to Mr Hague who grew up in Bosnia, said sexual violence was often the most effective way of carrying out “ethnic cleansing”.
Jolie Pitt said the political focus on the issue was helping reduce stigma and encourage victims to “come out of the shadows”.
“I think of my family and I think what would happen if I was raped, or my daughter was raped,” she said.
“You would want to know that it was wrong and the world knew that it was wrong, and that the person that did this to you wouldn’t just walk free.”
She stressed the importance of bringing prosecutions at the International Criminal Court (ICC).