Appearing at an African Union summit in South Africa on Friday, actress Angelina Jolie, who is also a United Nations special envoy on refugee issues, spoke about rape as a weapon of warfare and asked African representatives to support women's rights.

Jolie had been invited to speak on women and conflict. She shared a panel with the African Union Commission Chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, former British Foreign Secretary William Hague and other prominent delegates.

"Progress is slow, it is uneven, it is fragile and in some parts of the world it is being erased," Jolie said.

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"Think what it would mean if the 54 nations of the African Union press as one toward full rights and opportunities for women, not just for this great continent but for the world," she said.

As co-founders of the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative, Jolie and Hague met with South African rights groups on Thursday to discuss strategies to prevent sexual violence. South Africa has a high rate of rape and violence against women.