"At no time in recent history has there been a greater need for leadership to deal with the consequences and causes of the global refugee crisis," Angelina Jolie Pitt wrote in an op-ed in U.K.'s The Times

By Lindsay Kimble
Updated September 09, 2015 12:40 PM

Angelina Jolie Pitt is using her celebrity influence and position with the United Nations’ refugee agency to push for worldwide action toward the Syrian refugee crisis through an emotional and heartfelt op-ed in the U.K.’s The Times.

“At no time in recent history has there been a greater need for leadership to deal with the consequences and causes of the global refugee crisis,” Jolie Pitt wrote in the piece, published Monday.

The actress, who spent time with a Syrian refugee family during a humanitarian trip earlier this year, said that the conflict in Syria has “created a wave of human suffering.”

“Syrians are fleeing barrel bombs, chemical weapons, rape and massacres. Their country has become a killing field,” the Oscar winner wrote with journalist Arminka Helic. “It should come as no surprise that people who have endured years of war, or who have been living in refugee camps on dwindling rations, are taking matters into their own hands.”

Jolie Pitt praised the “growing numbers of political leaders” who have welcomed groups of refugees into numerous European countries, but said there is still work to be done.

“We need to build on this and make it a turning point in people’s understanding not just of the Syria conflict but of the global refugee crisis,” she wrote.

Jolie Pitt, 40, who’s worked with the UNHCR since 2001, laid out several “hard truths” and next steps in the piece – including that an out of sight, out of mind attitude is no longer acceptable.

“The first is that the responsibility to help is not determined by the accident of geography but by adherence to universal human rights and values,” she said. “It transcends religion, culture and ethnicity. We should not be reaching for the lowest common denominator in our response to the refugee crisis, but striving to live up to our highest ideals. Every country in the world, not just in Europe, must be a part of the solution.”

She urged Syria’s neighboring countries to help bear some of the load of migrants, and also said people should be “conscious” not to “stigmatize anyone for aspiration to a better life.”

“We cannot donate our way out of the crisis, we cannot solve it simply by taking in refugees, we have to find a diplomatic route to end the conflict,” she said, asking the U.N. Security Council to visit the region and pleading for “long-term solutions” to resolving conflicts.

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On Tuesday, the Maleficent star was leading a different crusade in London – she appeared before a House of Lords committee to advocate for victims of sexual assault in war zones.

The star spoke of young children being “brutally raped multiple times,” and urged the U.K. to have a “very, very strong response” in the journey to end sexual violence.