London: World powers on Thursday pledged funds and reached a "historic" deal to tackle rape and sexual violence used as a weapon of war, with Hollywood star and UN special envoy Angelina Jolie praising the declaration.
Jolie joined UK Foreign Secretary William Hague to announce a USD 35.4 million international agreement for action against sexual violence in war zones as part of the ongoing G8 foreign ministers` meeting being hosted at Lancaster House.
"I am delighted to announce that today we have reached a historic agreement as G8 foreign ministers: pledging to work together to end sexual violence in conflict," Hague said.
"Hundreds of thousands of women and children have been sexually assaulted, tortured or forced into sexual slavery in the wars of our generation," Jolie, a United Nations special envoy for refugee issues, said during her speech at the meeting.
"Time and again the world has failed to prevent this abuse, or to hold attackers accountable. Today I believe that their voices have been heard, and that we finally have some hope to offer them," she said, praising Hague and the declaration.
As part of the latest initiative, the Group of Eight most powerful nations of the world also agreed 23 million (USD 35.4 million) of funding to teach the world how to deter and investigate war-time sexual atrocities and bring the generals responsible to justice.
Britain will provide 10 million from the budgets of the Foreign Office and Department for International Development towards the overall fund.
"Our goal must be a world in which it is inconceivable that thousands of women, children and men can be raped in the course of a conflict, because an international framework of deterrence and accountability makes it impossible," Hague told his fellow G8 foreign ministers from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the US in the run-up to the annual summit in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland in June.
The British foreign secretary, who has described the initiative as a "personal priority" and spent a year gathering support for such an international protocol, compared the mission with the abolition of slavery and the moves to eradicate land mines.
"Now that we have put war zone rape on the international agenda, it must never slip off it again and must be given even greater prominence.
This declaration is a milestone in that effort, and a turning-point in our collective history," he said.
Hague has been instrumental in pushing forward the issue as a serious breach of the Geneva Convention as part of Britain`s presidency of the G8.