Jesuit Refugee Service Latest News and Information Tue, 25 Nov 2014 00:11:15 GMT France: Pope Francis visits European Parliament Berlin, Brussels, London, Paris, Rome, Valletta, 24 November 2014 – On the occasion of Pope Francis’s speech before the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 25 November, the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) urges European countries to remain faithful to one of the fundamental values underpinning the European Union by showing concrete solidarity with migrants and refugees and ensuring fully-fledged joint search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean. Mon, 24 Nov 2014 06:00:00 GMT Australia: shutting the door in the face of a global humanitarian crisis Rome, Yogyakarta, 21 November 2014 – The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) observes with deep sadness yet another sudden retroactive change in Australian government policy towards people seeking international protection in southeast Asia. Yesterday, the government of Australia announced its decision to stop the resettlement of refugees who had registered with the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) in Indonesia on or after the 1 July 2014. The number of refugees resettled by Australia from Indonesia will also be further reduced in 2015. Fri, 21 Nov 2014 06:00:00 GMT Rome: Fr Nicolás encourages hospitality on the frontiers Rome, 21 November 2014 – Yesterday, on the on thirty-fourth anniversary of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), more than 250 people gathered to hear Fr Adolfo Nicolás, Superior General of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), discuss Hospitality on the Frontiers. In his discussion with the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr Frederico Lombardi, Fr Nicolás encouraged governments and citizens to open their doors to refugees, recognising service to refugees as "Gospel hospitality in action." Fri, 21 Nov 2014 06:00:00 GMT Fr Superior Nicolás and Fr Lombardi together to talk about refugees Rome, 20 November 2014 – In commemoration of the 34th anniversary of the foundation of the Jesuit Refugee Service, Fr Adolfo Nicolás, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, will discuss the challenges of the reception of refugees with Fr Federico Lombardi, Director of the Press Office of the Holy See. Thu, 20 Nov 2014 06:00:00 GMT Democratic Republic of Congo: time to take strong measures to protect children from armed conflict 20 November 2014 – Twenty-five years after the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), ratified by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 1990, Child Soldiers International and the Jesuit Refugee Service remain concerned by widespread abuses committed against children by armed forces and armed groups. Although significant progress has been made to protect children from armed conflict in the DRC, there is still a long way to go to prevent the recruitment of children, improve assistance to former child soldiers, and end impunity. Thu, 20 Nov 2014 06:00:00 GMT Rome: testimony of a Syrian refugee in Italy, Tareq Rome, 20 November 2014<span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family: " calibri",sans-serif;mso-fareast-font-family:"times="" new="" roman";mso-bidi-font-family:="" "times="" roman";mso-ansi-language:en-gb;mso-fareast-language:it;mso-bidi-language:="" ar-sa"="" lang="EN-GB"> –</span> My name is Tareq, and I'm 28 years of age. I'm Syrian from Damascus. Today, I'm a refugee in Italy. In Syria, I studied languages at university. I left my home city shortly after I graduated to avoid compulsory conscription. I didn't want to go to war. I hate weapons. That way, I had no alternative but to flee and seek asylum. Thu, 20 Nov 2014 06:00:00 GMT Rome: hope and fear – testimony of a Syria Jesuit Rome, 20 November 2014 – When the uprising began in Syria, there was great hope and fear. Syrians of all colours knew reform was vital, but that it would come at a heavy cost. Some were hopeful and encouraged the reform movement, others, more fearful, resisted it. There was extremism and moderation in both camps. Thu, 20 Nov 2014 06:00:00 GMT Rome: a sign of God’s presence Rome, 20 November 2014 – It is a great honour for the Jesuit Refugee Service to have Fr General Nicolás among us to commemorate this most symbolic day. Our gratitude goes also to Fr Lombardi, to Vatican Radio and to all those whose presence have made this gathering possible today. Thu, 20 Nov 2014 06:00:00 GMT Rome: let's open the door to asylum seekers Rome, 20 November 2014 – In a time when the cries of innocent victims of grave humanitarian crises fleeing war and persecution can be heard close to our borders, the response of Europe and Italy has never been more hesitant and contradictory. Thu, 20 Nov 2014 06:00:00 GMT Iraq: the Jesuit Refugee Service in Iraqi Kurdistan, winter imperils displaced families Erbil, 11 November 2014 – The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) has established a project in Erbil, the capital of Iraq's Kuridstan region, to provide assistance to recently displaced people. Unprecedented numbers of families and individuals have been displaced across Iraq and Syria as the Islamic State has spread in recent months. Tue, 11 Nov 2014 06:00:00 GMT Praying with refugees: education preserves the life of its owner – girls' education in Chad Abéché, 1 November 2014 – Food shortages in refugee camps forced families to engage in otherwise unacceptable practices. Some marry off their daughters early in exchange for payment. Young girls wash clothes instead of going to school for as little 1.75 US dollars a day; other engage in survival sex. Sixty percent reductions in food assistance last year for the 360,000 Sudanese refugee families in eastern Chad have not only put girls and women at risk, they have affected girls' education. Sat, 01 Nov 2014 05:00:00 GMT South Sudan: humanitarian workers return to a glimmer of hope despite floods in Maban Maban, 30 October 2014 — As the World Food Programme (WFP) flight evacuated 240 humanitarian workers from four camps in Upper Nile State, South Sudan, Pau Vidal SJ remembers looking down at a crowd of refugees congregated on the airstrip. The evacuation came after violence erupted in Maban county in August, killing five humanitarian workers and an unknown number of civilians. Thu, 30 Oct 2014 05:00:00 GMT 50 NGOs urge states at Berlin conference to protect civilians and refugees affected by the Syrian conflict Rome, 28 October 2014 – Prior to today's conference on the Syrian crisis, chaired by the German government and the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), a group of 50 national and international NGOs urge governments and NGOs act now to address the suffering of Syrians. Above all, the group added, the international community and influential states must prioritise forging a negotiated political solution to end the conflict in Syria. Tue, 28 Oct 2014 05:00:00 GMT Emergencies and new conflicts leave the forcibly displaced hungry Rome, 16 October 2014 – While forcibly displaced persons make up only a tiny portion of those suffering from chronic hunger and malnutrition, the rise in conflict-induced displacement is putting serious strains on the capacity of the international community to meet the basic food needs of those fleeing conflict. Nothing better illustrates the hardship faced by refugees and internally displaced persons than the on-going conflicts in Syria and South Sudan, and the protracted refugee crisis in Chad. Thu, 16 Oct 2014 05:00:00 GMT Colombia: the voices of victims of conflict need be more than just heard Bogota, 13 October 2014 – In response to ongoing dialogue between the Colombian government and left-wing guerrilla group, Las Farc, the Jesuit Refugee Service has urged the negotiating parties to take in account the needs of those affected by the conflict. The statement – presented at the National Victims Forum in Cali – called for assistance for victims, reparations, solutions to the displacement and preventative measures. JRS also urged receiving states to welcome refugees and offer them international protection, not forcibly return them to Colombia. Mon, 13 Oct 2014 05:00:00 GMT Syria: examining the role of women from a humanitarian perspective in response to conflict Syria, 13 October 2014 <span class="StoryBody"> – </span>During the anti-apartheid years in South Africa, the phrase "strike a woman and you strike a rock" was popularised by the growing involvement of women in the struggle. In Syria, the role of women has taken on a less aggressive, but no less significant role. Mon, 13 Oct 2014 05:00:00 GMT Europe: Rescued – what next? Protection seekers stranded in Sicily Brussels, 7 October 2014 – Interviews conducted with migrants stranded in southern Italy expose the failure of European reception systems to uphold principles of human dignity, hospitality and fairness, according to the findings of a new report by the Jesuit Refugee Service. Tue, 07 Oct 2014 05:00:00 GMT Video: counselling services help refugees in Kakuma begin to heal Washington DC, 6 October 2014 — One of the objectives of the Jesuit Refugee Service programmes in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya is to improve the psychological well-being of and the reduction of stress-related health problems of refugees at the camp. Mon, 06 Oct 2014 05:00:00 GMT Malawi: a ticket to hope, graduation of online university students in Dzaleka refugee camp Dzaleka, 6 October 2014 – Only a few years ago, the idea of offering higher education in refugee camps would have been considered almost inconceivable. Yet today the graduation ceremony in Dzaleka camp has become an annual event. This occasion, said Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) International Director, Peter Balleis SJ, was as a celebration of 'normality'. Mon, 06 Oct 2014 05:00:00 GMT Syria: between fear of violence and the struggle to survive Beirut, 3 October 2014 – The humanitarian crisis in two of the three principle cities in Syria has deteriorated dramatically in the last two months, according to Jesuit Refugee Service teams on the ground. Fri, 03 Oct 2014 05:00:00 GMT Afghanistan: four months on, hope remains alive for the safe return of Jesuit Refugee Service director Delhi, 3 October 2014 – Yesterday, the 2 October marked four long months since Alexis Prem Kumar – serving with the Jesuit Refugee Service – was abducted by a group of armed men from a JRS-supported school in Sohadat, a government township for returnee families, 35 km from Herat city in western Afghanistan. Fri, 03 Oct 2014 05:00:00 GMT Safe passage into Europe needed for refugees Brussels, Rome, 2 October 2014 – A year after the tragic death of nearly 400 forced migrants – men, women, children – off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa, tens of thousands of lives have been saved. The details of how close the victims were to the coast spurred the Italian government to act. Proof, if any was needed, of how much can be done when states prioritise life above border security. Thu, 02 Oct 2014 05:00:00 GMT Syria: between fear of violence and the struggle to survive Beirut, 3 October 2014 – The humanitarian crisis in two of the three principle cities in Syria has deteriorated dramatically in the last two months, according to Jesuit Refugee Service teams on the ground. Wed, 01 Oct 2014 05:00:00 GMT Kenya: graduates celebrate past achievements and hopeful futures in Kakuma refugee camp Kakuma, 29 September 2014 – A busy road in Kakuma refugee camp comes alive with shops selling vivacious Tanzanian fabrics, Ethiopian cafes serving espresso shots, families collecting remittances at Somali banks and a micro-version of a university campus offering online higher education to talented refugees. Mon, 29 Sep 2014 05:00:00 GMT Praying with Refugees in Belgium: then the storm died down Bruges, 1 October 2014 – Detention centres are places where storms frequently erupt, especially in the spirits of anxious, angry and stressed detainees. They feel overwhelmed, as if drowning. Yet in the middle of these dark storms, suddenly something can change. It is difficult to identify exactly what, but something changes their perspective, draws their attention to elements almost lost in the storm. It might be that God is at work. Thu, 25 Sep 2014 05:00:00 GMT