The actress, who centered her 2011 directorial debut In the Land of Blood and Honey around the Bosnian war that led to genocide, commemorated the 23rd anniversary with a powerful statement about the hardships the European country and its citizens still face today.
“The passage of time cannot diminish the pain felt by survivors of the war in Bosnia or the horror of the Srebrenica genocide,” Jolie said in a statement. “I have never met more brave, dignified and resilient women than the Mothers of Srebrenica, many still searching for their lost sons and husbands 23 years after the genocide. My thoughts and my heart are with them, and with all survivors in Bosnia today.”
She continues, “Srebrenica stands as an indelible warning of the consequences when we fail to take sides when innocent civilians are threatened with aggression. It is also a reminder that the international community can act together, as NATO eventually did in Bosnia, to end the conflict and protect civilian life.”
Jolie serves as Special Envoy to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and uses her role to work in support of refugees around the world. In her statement, the activist hopes the anniversary reminds nations around the world to take steps in preventing another genocide as millions of refugees are displaced.
“On this the 23rd anniversary of the genocide in Srebrenica, I hope we will be inspired to renew our sense of responsibility towards others, and our confidence in our ability to act collectively to prevent genocide and war crimes and defend international law,” Jolie said. “It is in our hands, and would be the best way of honoring the memory of those who died in Srebrenica.”
Jolie made similar statements at a press conference in Bosnia in February 2012 when she returned to the country to screen her film. The director discussed her film and the long controversial history it has in the Balkan country, saying she hoped the film would serve as a “wake-up call for the international community.”
“I’m satisfied with what we made, I feel very strongly about it and I believe that its core issue – which is the need for intervention and need for the world to care about atrocities when they are happening – is very, very timely and especially with things that are happening in Syria today,” Jolie told journalists from the Associated Foreign Press in 2012.
This article originally appeared on PEOPLE.