where we work
JRS and Rotary discuss how to build stronger communities with refugees
Rome, 22 April 2016 – On 29 April, at LUMSA University, Fr Thomas H Smolich SJ, the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) International Director, will speak on a panel discussion hosted by Rotary International to discuss the needs and challenges of refugees as well as sustainable solutions. Fr Smolich will speak alongside Carlotta Sami, Spokeswoman of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees office for Southern Europe, and John Hewko and K.R. Ravindran, General Secretary and President of Rotary International respectively, to discuss the theme “Helping refugees to start over.”
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Global: faith leaders urge Cameron and Obama to help Syrian refugees
Rome, 22 April 2016 – President Obama is in the UK for talks with Prime Minister Cameron regarding the upcoming 23 June EU referendum to decide Britain's membership in the EU. They will also discuss the fight to oust the Islamic State. In this letter below, 28 faith based leaders including representatives from the Christian, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim religions call the two leaders to consider Syria in these talks.
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Malawi: guitar-maker sells his instruments online from refugee camp
Dzaleka, 20 April 2016 -- Patron Palushang Bin Kilangana, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, is not only a talented musician, but a carpenter and craftsman of instruments as well. Despite the fact that he is limited to the confines of a refugee camp in Malawi and has access to limited resources, he has managed to set up a successful global business selling handmade guitars.
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Uganda: integration opportunities rebuild lives
Kampala, 19 April 2016 – As many countries in the western world close their doors and increase restrictions on refugees, one unsuspecting nation has had an open door policy toward refugees for decades.
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Italy: Pope tells JRS staff to continue walking with refugees
Rome, 19 April 2016 – If host countries properly welcome refugees and facilitate their integration into society, forced migration will no longer be an emergency, according to the Jesuit Refugee Service Italy (Centro Astalli) 2015 annual report. Today, to present the Centro Astalli 2015 annual report at Teatro Argentina in Rome, Pope Francis – through a video message – encouraged Centro Astalli to continue its work with refugees, and Romano Prodi, former EU Commission president and Italian Prime Minister, spoke about the economic and political need to welcome refugees.
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Greece: Pope to refugees – “you are not alone”
Rome, 17 April 2016 – In his heartfelt visit to the Greek island of Lesbos yesterday, Pope Francis stood in solidarity with refugees and migrants, reminding them “you are not alone.” However, the Pope did not only draw attention to this grave tragedy through words, but through action. On his trip back to the Vatican, he brought with him a dozen Syrian Muslim refugees – including six children – personally showing the EU and the world the values of welcome and accompaniment.
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Libya-Italy: the other route, going through hell
Catania, 14 April 2016 -- "I am never going back to Somalia, ever." Yasmin's firm determination not to return to her home country is more than justified. The 19-year-old girl left to avoid the unwelcome advances of a member of the Al-Shabaab terrorist group. Saying no was not an option. "Someone from Al-Shabab wanted to marry a friend of mine and her father said 'no'. Both father and daughter were killed."
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Greece: Pope to visit Lesbos, a symbol of hope for refugees
Rome, 12 April 2016 – At a time when hundreds of thousands are risking their lives trying to reach safety in Europe, the Jesuit Refugee Service is very pleased that Pope Francis will visit the Greek island of Lesbos, a major transit point, this Saturday, 16 April, to confront the emergency situation of refugees and the need for international solidarity among governmental and non-governmental actors head on.
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Syria: a martyr for Christians and Muslims alike
Beirut, 7 April 2016 – "I don't see Christians or Muslims. I see, above all, human beings." – Fr Frans van der Lugt, SJ. The city of Homs in western Syria, is the third largest city in the country after Aleppo and Damascus. Its population consisting of Arabs, Sunni Muslims, Alawites and Christians, and the city has a number of historic churches and mosques, reflecting the religious diversity of Syria. Today, Homs is a devastated city: bombed, battered and bruised by five years of a bloody civil war.
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Europe: my last chance
Athens, 5 April 2016 -- Refugees who face a terrifying journey to seek life over death deserve praise for their courage. This came to me powerfully in recent weeks when I met so many travelling the Balkan route to find asylum in Europe. And especially when I listened to Qusai, who needed an extra dose of courage to make the risky choices he did, despite his unique vulnerability.
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