The UK Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State, William Hague, and UNHCR Special Envoy, Angelina Jolie, arrived in Kigali on Sunday, for a visit that will also take them to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), aimed at highlighting the terrible human cost of warzone rape, and to call on Governments worldwide to address this neglected and growing problem.
According to a statement received by The New Times today from the British High Commission, Hague is scheduled to meet President Paul Kagame and Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo, to discuss the need for a lasting solution to the conflict in Eastern DRC, as well as other bilateral issues.
Hague and Jolie will also visit a Genocide Memorial in Kigali to pay their respects to the victims of the 1994 Genocide. In Eastern DRC, they will meet survivors of rape and sexual violence and the local organisations and UN bodies supporting them, according to the statement.
“Rape is often used as a weapon of war in conflict zones around the world. It destroys people’s lives and communities in the most horrific manner imaginable. Yet more often than not the international community looks away, the perpetrators of these brutal crimes walk free and the cycle of injustice and conflict is repeated. We have to shatter this culture of impunity,” Hague is quoted as speaking ahead of the visit.
Jolie said the visit is about hearing first hand from people who have endured rape and sexual violence during the conflict in the Eastern DRC.
“We want to identify ways in which the international community can help them to rebuild their lives. We want to learn the lessons that their experience holds for how the world can protect thousands of women, men and children at risk of rape in many other conflict zones.”
The joint visit continues work begun in May 2012, when Hague and Jolie launched in London a new UK campaign to prevent conflict zone rape and sexual violence.Follow https://twitter.com/KarhangaJames