Angelina Jolie tackles women's rights at AU Summit

The actress and UNHCR envoy is attending the African Union Summit in Johannesburg.

US actress and UNHCR representative Angelina Jolie waves ahead of a panel on conflict-related gender violence on 12 June 2015 during a session of the African Union Summit in Johannesburg. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - US Actress Angelina Jolie has called for equal rights and a global fight against violence against women.

She was speaking ahead of the continental summit, held at the Sandton Convention Centre, where women's empowerment is a central theme.

Jolie was invited by African Union (AU) Commission head Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and praised the AU for taking the fight for women's rights forward.

"You have put women's rights at the heart of this summit and the AU's agenda and that is unbelievably important."

But she says the world has a long way to go.

"We all know that while there is more awareness of women's rights today, progress is slow, uneven and fragile. In some parts of the world it's being erased."

British foreign secretary William Hague challenged men to join the fight against rape as a weapon of war.

He says this is an integral part of foreign policy and with legal measures now in place, it can be fought.