This section provides access to a variety of publications from Jesuit Refugee Service and its various offices worldwide. You can find annual reports; Servir our quarterly magazine on issues affecting refugees and forcibly displaced persons and; books, research reports and other material by JRS.
|Jesuit Refugee Service: accompany, serve, advocate
Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) is an international Catholic organisation with a mission to accompany, serve and advocate for the rights of refugees and others who are forcibly displaced.
|Sanctuary and Sustenance
A photo exhibition in Rome chronicling the resilience of refugees and the hospitality of their hosts.
This photo exhibition—a representation of the activities of JRS field volunteers—is a tribute to the dignity of people, who, despite having been forced to flee their homes, continue to struggle for a better future. Behind each and every photograph is an individual story of persecution, poverty or war, and sometimes a combination of all three.
They face the trauma of arrival in a foreign land, of having left their friends, families and dreams behind. Confronted with new cultures and languages, life can be extremely stressful. Rebuilding lives means becoming active members of their new society.
|JRS Leaflet: Forced Home by Food Cuts
JRS presents the findings of its survey on the impacts of food cuts on refugees at UNHCR's 2005 annual consultations with NGOs
Through its accompaniment of refugees and IDPs (internally displaced persons) JRS is first-hand witness to the suffering and to the dangers caused by cuts in food rations. Therefore JRS has conducted a survey of its field offices about the impacts of food cuts, and has produced the leaflet "Forced Home by Food Cuts" to highlight the issues that came out of this survey.
During the UNHCR-NGO consultation meeting that took place in Geneva in September 2005 JRS participated in a round table session on food security and its link to refugee protection, and gave a presentation focusing on the impacts on refugees and displaced people of food ration cuts, and recommendations to humanitarian organisations and other NGOs (non-governmental organisations).
The impacts of food cuts reported by JRS field offices are: health problems and malnutrition, developmental delays in children, being forced into exploitative employment including prostitution, selling of non-food items, eg. Mosquito nets, to buy food - leading to a rise in malaria, children dropping out of school to help support their families, child recruitment into armed groups, an increase in domestic violence, being forced into "illegality", being forced into moving on, and being forced into repatriation.
Food cuts force refugees into illegality to get what they need to survive. They are forced to break laws restricting their freedom of movement and laws restricting their employment. They have to leave the camps to work even when this is illegal. This creates more protection problems. It brings them into contact with the local police - and they end up harassed by police, having to pay bribes, often arrested and detained, and some are deported into situations of danger.
Refugees are forced by food cuts into moving on - becoming so-called "irregular secondary movers" - in search of livelihood opportunities, often without appropriate travel documents or official sanction.Food cuts force people to repatriate, even if it is not the right time for them to do so. People given the choice of staying and starving or returning home cannot be said to be participating in a voluntary repatriation. One quote from a refugee in Tanzania sums up the situation: "It is better to repatriate and die from gunshot than being threatened to death by hunger…"
UNHCR (the UN Refugee agency) and WFP (the World Food Programme) also participated in the round table discussion. All agreed that there is a need for coordination and a concerted effort between WFP, UNHCR and NGOs to lobby donors to improve food security for refugees. It was agreed that, as well as lobbying to deal with short-term food security problems, all agencies should be advocating for long-term changes in the system - for changes that would enable refugees to become more self-reliant - to be allowed to cultivate land, to have access to markets, to have the right to work, and for donors to direct development assistance towards refugee-hosting areas.
For more details of JRS' recommendations to host governments, to the international community, and to humanitarian agencies concerning food security for refugees and displaced persons, see the leaflet "Forced Home by Food Cuts".
Melanie Teff JRS International Advocacy Coordinator (2004-2007)
|JRS leaflet: Flee for your life and risk imprisonment without crime
For over 20 years JRS has been serving, accompanying, and defending the rights of, refugees held in detention. JRS staff around the world - in Europe, the US, South Asia, Asia Pacific, Southern Africa, Eastern Africa and in the Caribbean - visit people in detention who have not been charged with, or convicted of, any crime. These people have been deprived of their liberty simply for entering or remaining in a country or moving without authorisation. JRS is concerned about the inadequate conditions in which refugees, asylum seekers and migrants are being held in detention and about their lack of access to proper procedures.
JRS has become aware that detention is increasingly being used -
inappropriately and in violation of international human rights law - to
deter the arrival of refugees and to persuade them to leave. Therefore,
JRS decided to work together with other non governmental organisations
concerned about this issue to develop the international coalition on the
detention of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, which is being
launched worldwide on 20th June 2006.
JRS International Advocacy Coordinator (2004-2007)