Angelina Jolie Visits The Democratic Republic of Congo


Last month actress Angelia Jolie, along with British Foreign Secretary William Hague, visited the Democratic Republic of Congo in an effort to bring much needed attention to rape and sexual violence against woman and children being used as a tool of war. Hearing firsthand accounts from victims of rape and sexual abuse, Jolie and Hague wanted these atrocities of war to be the forefront of topics when the nations set for the G8 Summit met in London. Jolie also spoke during the G8 gathering requesting focus and attention be given to these war crimes and requesting that the nations agree that use of sexual violence and rape are a breach of the Geneva Convention which governs wartime practices. Speaking to the G8 Summit Jolie focused on prevention of these crimes and providing a voice to those desperately in need.

The visit to Eastern Congo was in an attempt to bring light to the suffering of victims and their stories and to hear firsthand those victimized by these wartime atrocities. Additionally, Jolie’s visit was in an effort to hold perpetrators accountable for their heinous crimes against the innocent, who usually walk away and are not held accountable for crimes committed.

Jolie’s interest in humanitarian aid began in 2000 when she visited Cambodia during her filming of Tomb Raider. Jolie adopted son Maddox from Cambodia and began focusing on worldwide humanitarian efforts bringing focus and attention by diplomatic leaders to humanitarian issues worldwide. Jolie eventually also adopted Zahara from Ethiopia, Pax from Vietnam and became a role model for adoptive parents hoping to adopt children in need internationally. In April, 2012 Jolie was appointed as Special Envoy of UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Previous to this appointment, Jolie represented UNHCR as a Goodwill Ambassador. During her time as Goodwill Ambassador her focus was on advocating on behalf of refugees and those displaced as a result of conflict. Jolie proved her dedication to this cause by traveling worldwide on more than 40 field visits.

Eastern Congo has been ravaged by war and conflict for many years and the conflict in DRC has been the United Nation’s largest peace keeping mission to date. Victimization of women and the use of rape as a wartime tool in DRC has resulted in not only women being victimized, but children born to these women are further victimized as a result of rape and contribute to the ever growing orphan population in DRC. Children born out of rape are more often than not abandoned by the birth mother who has conceived a child unwillingly and by violence and force. Miss Jolie’s tireless efforts of travel and commitment to humanitarian causes worldwide, is nothing short of admirable. In addition to her commitment of utilizing her star status to bring a voice to those in need, her personal choices of adopting have furthered the interest in international adoption as a means for expanding a family.

For more information about MLJ Adoptions’ international adoption programs, please click here.

Sonja Brown works as the International Program Director for MLJ Adoptionsā€™ programs in Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti and Samoa. Sonja is also proud to work directly with our Individualized Country Program families who are adopting from countries where no adoption service providers currently operate.