Angelina Jolie

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A beauty salon in Kabul on April 25. (Rahmat Gul/AP)

Fatima Khalil was an Afghan girl, born in Pakistan. After the U.S. intervention in 2001, she returned to Afghanistan, went to school in Kabul and ultimately graduated with a double major in anthropology and human rights. She could have worked abroad. Instead, she took a job at the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission. She was assassinated in a bomb attack on her way to work last year. She was 24.

Fatima’s story tells us a great deal about the fate of Afghanistan, and of Afghan women, over the past 20 years. There are women who are now able to choose careers previously unavailable to them.…  Seguir leyendo »

Women returning to the town of Mweso, in the Masisi Territory, North Kivu Province, eastern Congo, carry their harvest from the field as they walk past a convoy of the Stabilization Program of the MONUSCO, the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Congo, on April 10. (Alexis Huhuet/AFP/Getty Images) (Alexis Huguet/AFP/Getty Images)

For more than 70 years, constraining armed aggression and improving rights and freedoms for all peoples have been accepted as common responsibilities by most countries. Central to this is the idea that those who carry out war crimes and crimes against humanity are held to account — as a precondition for peace, as moral restitution for survivors and to deter future aggressors.

In the past two decades, a measure of justice — however imperfect — was served to some of those responsible for genocide and ethnic cleansing, including in Cambodia, the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Far from an admission of weakness, this was an expression of strength: It showed our determination and ability to isolate and ultimately punish those who violated international law and the rights of their citizens.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Rohingya refugee in Bangladesh who suffered burns when her house in Myanmar was set ablaze by soldiers. Credit Tomas Munita for The New York Times

Around the world, there is profound concern that America is giving up the mantle of global leadership. Our steady retreat over the past decade has contributed to a wide array of complex global challenges — a dangerous erosion of the rule of law, gross human rights violations and the decline of the rules-based international order that was designed in the aftermath of two world wars to prevent conflict and deter mass atrocities.

We’ve seen this unfold in Syria, where the United States and the international community have shamefully failed to address brutal violence that has engulfed the country for seven years, led to hundreds of thousands dead and contributed to the worst refugee crisis since the end of World War II.…  Seguir leyendo »

Toda violencia contra las mujeres traiciona la promesa fundamental de igualdad de derechos y dignidad para las mujeres establecida en la Carta de Naciones Unidas. Es una de las principales razones por las que las mujeres se mantienen en una posición subordinada respecto a los hombres en la mayor parte del mundo.

En nuestras diferentes funciones hemos visto que aquellos conflictos en los que el cuerpo y los derechos de las mujeres son objeto de abuso sistemático duran más, causan heridas más profundas y son mucho más difíciles de resolver y superar. Poner fin a la violencia por razón de sexo es por consiguiente una cuestión vital para la paz y la seguridad, así como para la justicia social.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘It is humanity’s shame that violence against women, whether in peaceful societies or during times of war, has been universally regarded as a lesser crime.’ Photograph: Umit Bektas/Reuters

All violence against women betrays the fundamental promise in the UN Charter of equal rights and dignity for women. It is one of the prime reasons why women remain in a subordinate position in relation to men in most parts of the world.

When this violence is committed as an act of war it tears apart families, creates mass displacement, and makes peace and reconciliation far harder to achieve. In fact, it is often designed expressly to achieve those goals as part of a military strategy.

Despite being prohibited by international law, sexual violence continues to be employed as a tactic of war in numerous conflicts from Myanmar to Ukraine and Syria to Somalia.…  Seguir leyendo »

Angelina Jolie at a camp for Syrian refugees in Jordan, in September. Credit Jordan Pix/Getty Images

Refugees are men, women and children caught in the fury of war, or the cross hairs of persecution. Far from being terrorists, they are often the victims of terrorism themselves.

I’m proud of our country’s history of giving shelter to the most vulnerable people. Americans have shed blood to defend the idea that human rights transcend culture, geography, ethnicity and religion. The decision to suspend the resettlement of refugees to the United States and deny entry to citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries has been met with shock by our friends around the world precisely because of this record.

The global refugee crisis and the threat from terrorism make it entirely justifiable that we consider how best to secure our borders.…  Seguir leyendo »

Two years ago I wrote about my choice to have a preventive double mastectomy. A simple blood test had revealed that I carried a mutation in the BRCA1 gene. It gave me an estimated 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer. I lost my mother, grandmother and aunt to cancer.

I wanted other women at risk to know about the options. I promised to follow up with any information that could be useful, including about my next preventive surgery, the removal of my ovaries and fallopian tubes.

I had been planning this for some time.…  Seguir leyendo »

Angelina Jolie at a refugee camp in Iraq's Dohuk province on Jan. 25. Credit Safin Hamed/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

I have visited Iraq five times since 2007, and I have seen nothing like the suffering I’m witnessing now.

I came to visit the camps and informal settlements where displaced Iraqis and Syrian refugees are desperately seeking shelter from the fighting that has convulsed their region.

In almost four years of war, nearly half of Syria’s population of 23 million people has been uprooted. Within Iraq itself, more than two million people have fled conflict and the terror unleashed by extremist groups. These refugees and displaced people have witnessed unspeakable brutality. Their children are out of school, they are struggling to survive, and they are surrounded on all sides by violence.…  Seguir leyendo »

Imagina que eres testigo de cómo unos hombres armados se llevan a un miembro de tu familia de tu casa, para luego violarlo, venderlo como esclavo sexual o encarcelarlo para torturarlo sexualmente. Imagina que eso le pasa a decenas de miles de mujeres, hombres y menores de tu país, durante años y años, y que vives en un entorno así de peligroso y traumático.

Nos hemos unido porque teníamos en común la cercanía con un país en concreto: Bosnia. Allí, cerca de 50.000 mujeres y no sabemos cuántos hombres fueron violados. Han pasado veinte años sin que se haya hecho justicia para la inmensa mayoría de estas víctimas.…  Seguir leyendo »

Todos los días salen a la luz noticias de los horribles crímenes que se están cometiendo en Siria. Ahora, la ONU ha confirmado que se está recurriendo a la violación para aterrorizar y castigar a mujeres, hombres y niños durante los registros a viviendas y en los interrogatorios, así como en los controles fronterizos, los centros de detención y las cárceles de todo el país.

El último y terrible informe de la Comisión de Investigación de la ONU explica cómo una madre fue violada y obligada por sus raptores a cocinar y limpiar para ellos, amenazándola con asesinar a sus hijos si se negaba.…  Seguir leyendo »

Tous les jours, des informations sur les crimes épouvantables commis en Syrie parviennent au reste du monde. L’ONU a maintenant confirmé que le viol y est utilisé pour terroriser les femmes, les hommes et les enfants, que ce soit lors des fouilles de domiciles ou d’interrogatoires, aux postes de contrôle ou dans les centres de détention et les prisons à travers le pays.

Le dernier rapport de la commission d’enquête de l’ONU cite le témoignage poignant d’une femme violée puis forcée de faire la cuisine et le ménage pour ses ravisseurs, sous peine de voir ses enfants mis à mort. Il comporte aussi le récit d’une étudiante violée parce que son frère était recherché par les autorités.…  Seguir leyendo »

Each day accounts of horrific crimes in Syria reach the outside world. Now the United Nations has confirmed that rape is being used to terrorize and punish women, men and children, during house searches and interrogations, at checkpoints, and in detention centres and prisons across the country.

The latest harrowing U.N. Commission of Inquiry report describes a mother being raped and forced to cook and clean for her captors, under the threat of the murder of her children. It tells the story of a university student who was raped because her brother was wanted by the government. These accounts are the tip of the iceberg.…  Seguir leyendo »