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Angelina Jolie and William Hague: The odd couple

June 12th, 2014
11:15 AM ET

By Henry Hullah 

Actress and U.N. Special Envoy Angelina Jolie and British Foreign Secretary told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour they didn’t mind being labelled the “odd couple” of international relations.

"We're making progress!" says Hague.

"Whatever works!" adds Jolie.

The two have joined forces in the fight against sexual violence in conflict. The recent the four day summit in London has brought attention to the topic they are both  passionate about.

"Angelina brings what governments cannot bring" says Hague. "You need a major government of the world to be involved in this. With that diplomatic network, with our development budget with our convening power to bring together something like this summit"

"But you also need to reach people who are not usually interested in what governments have to say and there are people who will take notice of what she [Angelina] says"

"You are moved by the people you meet"

Jolie has previously used her iconic status to anchor global interest to issues such as the plight of Syrian refugees and women's health. Amanpour asked her what marked the beginning of her crusade against sexual violence.

"It was time and again meeting young girls, boys, and women and men who publicly could talk about all of their pains but privately would become very emotional  about rape and what happened to them.  You know they couldn't tell if a child was the child of rape... they simply couldn't function any more. They carried this deep shame and this deep pain".

"It was just too many" said Jolie.

William Hague, her partner in this battle against sexual assault, went on to say how this "historic" summit will add to the landmark case in the Hague 12 years ago, where rape as a war crime was enshrined in law.

"We will have agreed this week on the international protocol on how to investigate and how to document these crimes", stated Hague.

"This is the first time the world will have adopted an agreed format for such investigations, where countries can also share information, but in addition to that there are countries that have been severely affected by this problem here this week presenting their action plans".

Speaking at events such as this global summit, and at the U.N., can sometimes be easier than bringing the complicated issues of conflict and gender equality home.

"I'm very, very open with my children", said Jolie "Some of my children have come from countries that were in conflict with each other; my son who's Cambodian, my son who's Vietnamese. So we have lots of discussions in the house. My daughter is African and we talk about civil rights, and they look at their sister and think how many years ago how different their relationship to their sister would be".

Amanpour asked Jolie what her perspective is on one of the last great bastions of gender equality in America; is the United States due a female president and is the woman for the job Hillary Clinton?

"Of course it would be wonderful to see her run... I think it should be the best person for the job regardless", Jolie stated.

"I think it's certainly time but that shouldn't be the reason to vote for someone either"

The U.N. Special Envoy seemed more focused on her next step against sexual violence, one that takes her far closer to home and that she has already started a project relating to; the assaults committed against servicewomen in her own nation's military and the impact it has globally.

"When people whose lives it is to protect others, when they violate the law, it's a thousand times worse", said Jolie. "It's not only a crime, it sets a bar across the world that you can do this".

See the second half of the interview here

soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Andrew Lowe

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  2. Tes

    Please go find out what's happening to women & girls in Syria.

    June 12, 2014 at 11:01 pm | Reply
    • yuko

      I hope your voice will be taken more seriously.

      June 13, 2014 at 12:14 am | Reply
  3. hopeso

    Anything to get this to the forefront of government mind

    June 13, 2014 at 5:53 am | Reply
  4. Melissa Thompson

    Why is this actress treated like some hero? I don't understand this. She has French-kissed her own brother on the red carpet, committed adultery and has done absolutely nothing for rape in war except make a few speeches that she probably didn't even write herself? I don't understand this world. There are plenty of other Hollywood Actresses who have earned more than this person has in their tasks and achievements for others.

    June 17, 2014 at 2:04 am | Reply
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