“According to the UN, almost every female Rohingya refugee in the camps in Bangladesh is either a survivor of sexual violence or a witness to multiple incidences of sexual assault, rape or gang‑rape,” said the Hollywood superstar actress, Angelina Jolie in her address at the UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial Summit being held in Vancouver on Wednesday.
“Half of the patients treated for rape have reportedly been under the age of 18,” she added.
Myanmar soldiers “systematically targeted” Rohingya women for gang-rape during violence against the minority Muslim community which triggered an exodus to Bangladesh, a UN special envoy said.
Jolie, who is the Special Envoy of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, highlighted the plight of Rohingya women fleeing Myanmar’s Rakhine State and seeking shelter in the refugee camps in the neighboring Bangladesh.
“But sexual violence is a weapon, used to deliberate effect, to achieve military or political objectives.
“It is cheaper than a bullet, and it has lasting consequences, that unfold with sickening predictability,” she said in her keynote address,.
However, she added, despite being prohibited by law, sexual violence continues to be employed as a tactic of war in 19 countries. It includes mass rape, gang rape, sexual slavery, and rape of as a form of torture, ethnic cleansing and terrorism.
“Conflict-related sexual violence is clearly understood as a crime, it is treated as a lesser crime,” she said.