Jesuit Refugee Service Latest News and Information Sat, 25 Apr 2015 12:30:44 GMT Italy: those seeking asylum are seeking help from you Rome, 24 April 2015 – The number of asylum applications in Italy increased by 143 percent in 2014, reaching a new record of 64,886, according to the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Italy annual report. While great strides have been made to accommodate refugees and asylum seekers, more needs to be done by the Italian and European authorities to welcome and integrate the newcomers. During the presentation of the report in Rome yesterday, JRS called for a cultural shift in Europe towards hospitality and solidarity. Fri, 24 Apr 2015 05:00:00 GMT Europe: opportunity to prioritise saving lives lost Rome, Brussels, 24 April 2015 – The EU has yet again failed to prioritise saving the lives of people fleeing conflict and persecution. The Jesuit Refugee Service sincerely hopes last night's European Council decision to increase resources to Frontex will lead to improved 'search and rescue' of forced migrants crossing the Mediterranean. But JRS fears the consequences of the raft of measures designed to prevent forced migrants from gaining access to the protection they are so desperately seeking. Fri, 24 Apr 2015 05:00:00 GMT Europe: save lives now! No more deaths in the Mediterranean Brussels, Rome, 21 April 2015 – As the death toll in the Mediterranean reaches record proportions, Europe's first priority must be to implement a full-scale search and rescue operation. Saving human life must come first. Europe should follow the example of Italy. Now is the time for extraordinary action. Tue, 21 Apr 2015 05:00:00 GMT South Africa: say no to xenophobia Johannesburg, 20 April 2014 – The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) strongly condemns the ongoing attacks and fear of reprisals in KwaZulu-Natal province, Johannesburg and other parts of the country. The shop lootings and direct attacks over the past two weeks have left five people dead and have displaced nearly 2,500 Malawian, Zimbabwean, Mozambican and Burundian, among other, nationals. In a country of 50 million people with high unemployment rates, perpetrators of the violence accuse the five million migrants of taking the jobs from South Africans. Mon, 20 Apr 2015 05:00:00 GMT Praying with refugees in South Sudan: God never fails those who trust in Him Yambio, 7 April 2015 – For more than three decades South Sudan has been engulfed in a sequence of wars. Generations have been born in exile and refugee camps. Those who survived did so in extremely harsh conditions. Yet as an uneasy peace comes to parts of South Sudan, violence breeding hatred continues in the east and northeast. Nobody should face such injustice. Tue, 07 Apr 2015 05:00:00 GMT Spain: legalising human rights violations Madrid, 31 March 2015 – Last week, the Spanish parliament adopted a law that allows immediate returns of irregular migrants at the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in North Africa. The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) and the Jesuit Migrants Service (SJM) Spain have serious concerns that the absence of safeguards will facilitate the 'hot return' of people in need of protection. JRS calls upon the European Commission to fully investigate the human rights implications of the new legislation. Tue, 31 Mar 2015 05:00:00 GMT Syria: let this fourth anniversary of the war be the last Beirut, 20 March 2015 – We rang in the New Year with whatever hope we could muster from inside and out, from our families, our communities, even from our enemies. We scraped it together, and we shared it among us in small rations, barely enough to go around. We prayed and dreamed that this would be the beginning of the end of the horror; that 2015 would put the past four years behind us and bring the long-awaited end to the blood on our hands – the lost fathers, the grieving mothers, the broken children, the destroyed cities and the squandered aspirations. Fri, 20 Mar 2015 05:00:00 GMT Praying with refugees in the Middle East: faith in action Beirut, 9 March 2015 – At a time of increasing extremism, people drift apart. Consumed by war and subjugated by fear, it is difficult to hold onto hope. As the spectre of violence and terror has crept into all of our homes; we must make a great effort not to give in to despair. Mon, 09 Mar 2015 05:00:00 GMT Africa: structural violence begets sexual violence Goma, Nairobi, 8 March 2015 – Not only does it cause untold psychological and physical harm to individuals, sexual violence destroys the social fabric of societies. While protection from harm and support for survivors are essential, the elimination of sexual- and gender-based violence (SGBV) requires the adoption of a systematic approach. Communities given space to work together to change harmful norms and practices, and supported by governments implementing prevention strategies and enforcing judicial sanctions. Sun, 08 Mar 2015 06:00:00 GMT Courageous voices at the Vatican, press conference Rome, 5 March 2015 – In commemoration of International Women's Day, 8 March 2015, courageous women from around the world make enormous contributions daily to their communities and the societies in which they live. Thu, 05 Mar 2015 06:00:00 GMT Kenya: no tragedy can kill hope Kakuma, 3 March 2015 – "No tragedy can kill hope. They have taken our homes, but not our future. No matter how bad their past has been, everyone has the right to a future!" said Sylvain Ruhamya Canga in his valedictorian speech at the commencement ceremony of the online higher education implemented by the Jesuit Refugee Service. Tue, 03 Mar 2015 06:00:00 GMT United Kingdom: immigration detention is 'expensive, ineffective and unjust' parliamentary report says London, 3 March 2015 – A landmark report published today by a British cross-party parliamentary group concludes that immigration detention in the UK is 'expensive, ineffective and unjust.' The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) supports the findings of the report and calls for its key recommendations to be followed. Alternatives to detention must be used, and a maximum detention time limit of 28-days would greatly reduce human suffering. Tue, 03 Mar 2015 06:00:00 GMT International: 48 organisations endorse a joint statement for the World Humanitarian Summit Rome, 2 March 2015 – Together with organisations such as Christian Aid, Caritas International, the Islamic Relief Worldwide, and the International Rescue Committee, the Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS) calls on humanitarian actors and states in conflict regions to "re-affirm their commitment to respect and to promote the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence, towards any stakeholders involved in humanitarian crises." Mon, 02 Mar 2015 06:00:00 GMT Democratic Republic of Congo: promoting education in Masisi Masisi, 24 February 2015 – "To me education is about dignity. It's about giving children – who have nothing – a way to engage in the society around them and do something with their lives besides contribute to the violence that surrounds them," explains Sr Esperance Hamuli, Education Coordinator with the Jesuit Refugee Service in Masisi. Tue, 24 Feb 2015 06:00:00 GMT Afghanistan: Indian Jesuit released after eight months in captivity Rome, 22 February 2015 – After more than eight months in captivity, the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) is delighted by the announcement of the release of Fr Alexis Prem Kumar. JRS is immensely grateful to the Indian government for its role in achieving his release. Sun, 22 Feb 2015 06:00:00 GMT Praying with refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo: education as hope Kashunga, 16 February 2015 – Moambi's white blouse gleams bright in the morning sun of Kashuga. She beams with pride in her new school uniform – she gets to attend high school after two years of staying at home. Mon, 16 Feb 2015 06:00:00 GMT Democratic Republic of Congo: International Red Hand Day – education provides alternative to joining armed groups Goma, 12 February 2015 – "I went because there was nothing else to do." Thu, 12 Feb 2015 06:00:00 GMT Australia: disturbing report on child detention presents opportunity for change Kings Cross, 12 February 2015 – The latest report on asylum-seeking children in detention demonstrates the extreme failure of the Australian government's refugee policy. However, this presents an opportunity to implement long-overdue changes, according to the Jesuit Refugee Service. Thu, 12 Feb 2015 06:00:00 GMT Italy: another tragedy, Europe must act Rome, Brussels, 11 February 2015 – About 300 people have drowned as their rubber dinghies sank in the Mediterranean between Libya and Lampedusa, Italy. This latest tragedy is a twofold demonstration of the failure of European border policy. Not only have European states not taken the necessary measures to save lives in the Mediterranean, they have established a series of 'legal' obstacles for those fleeing intensifying conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa. Wed, 11 Feb 2015 06:00:00 GMT Kenya: bicycles facilitate counselling in Kakuma camp Rome, 9 February 2015 – Kakuma camp hosts more than 170,000 refugees, mainly from Somalia and South Sudan. After fleeing violence and famine at home, refugees arrive to Kakuma in need of food, shelter and security, among others. Often suffering from loss and trauma, specialised psychosocial support is in big demand, particularly due to recent influxes of Somalis and South Sudanese refugees. Yet the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) is currently the only organisation in the camp providing psychosocial support. Mon, 09 Feb 2015 06:00:00 GMT Spain-Morocco border tragedy anniversary Brussels, Madrid, 5 February 2015 – The Jesuit Refugee Service and the Jesuit Migrant Service Spain call for safe and legal access to Europe one year after 14 people died during a confrontation with Spanish border guards near Ceuta. The Tarajal tragedy serves as a stark reminder that Spain along with other European Union member states are a long way off respecting the human dignity of forced migrants. Thu, 05 Feb 2015 06:00:00 GMT Syria: rocket attacks target civilians in Aleppo and Damascus Rome, 5 February 2015 – The Jesuit Refugee Service is extremely alarmed by the escalation in attacks on Aleppo and Damascus in the last few days. These indiscriminate attacks are targeting densely populated civilian areas. The level of violence in Damascus has reached unprecedented levels. The international community must take urgent action to protect the lives of civilian populations. Thu, 05 Feb 2015 06:00:00 GMT Former UK Minister for Education to join the Jesuit Refugee Service Rome, 26 January 2015 – The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) is pleased to announce that former education minister, Sarah Teather MP, will join the International Advocacy team on 1 June 2015. As advocacy adviser, Ms Teather will focus on the provision of education for refugee children the Middle East and South Sudan. Ms Teather will stand down from the British Parliament in May 2015, after 13 years in elected politics. For nearly 12 of these years she represented the London constituency of Brent Central, the most ethnically diverse in the United Kingdom. (Photo: Parliamentary Recording Unit) Mon, 26 Jan 2015 06:00:00 GMT Syria: water, the simplest gift of all Homs, 16 January 2015 – Since the ceasefire for the Old City of Homs was signed early in 2014, Homs has no longer occupied the news headlines from Syria. Recovering and restoring the Old City to any semblance of its former self will take years of reconstruction. In the meantime, those who are able to, have returned to their homes to try rebuild what has been destroyed and reclaim their property. Fri, 16 Jan 2015 06:00:00 GMT Kenya: protection needs increase with refugee influx Kakuma, 14 January 2015 – Without the opportunity to integrate into Kenyan society due to a strict encampment policy and with low chances of resettlement, most refugees in Kenya spend years living in refugee camps. While they are provided a physical space free from war, camps are not necessarily free from human rights abuses, particularly sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). Wed, 14 Jan 2015 06:00:00 GMT