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The JRS/USA Newsroom
The latest news from Jesuit Refugee Service/USA. Learn more, read Spotlight on Issues, Voices, The Refugee Voice and our priority pages like Syria, Colombia and Immigration Detention Chaplaincy. For videos, be sure to visit the Multimedia section.

Kenya: counseling services help refugees cope
(Washington, D.C.) April 24, 2014 — Jesuit Refugee Service has accompanied and served refugees in Kakuma refugee camp for 20 years. A grant from the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration is enabling JRS to provide social services to residents of the camp in northwestern Kenya.
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Community radio gives voice to refugees in Malawi
(Dzaleka, Malawi) April 22, 2014 — Byamungu R. Joseph Papa started broadcasting news and music from his shack inside Malawi's Dzaleka refugee camp in 2005 using a battery, an amplifier and a megaphone. Speakers placed on the roof of his home broadcast his announcements of new arrivals and lost goats, international news and music programs.
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Happy Easter
(Washington, D.C.) April 20, 2014 — Pope Francis reminds us that "migrants and refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity. They are children, women and men who leave or who are forced to leave their homes for various reasons, who share a legitimate desire for knowing and having, but above all for being more."
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Jesuit Refugee Service mourns the death of Jesuit Father Frans van der Lugt in Syria
(Beirut) April 8, 2014 — Jesuit Refugee Service in Syria has announced its closure for three days following the tragic loss of Jesuit priest Fr Frans van der Lugt. The whole JRS family is deeply saddened and shocked by his sudden death Monday morning.
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Take Action for Humane Immigration Reform
(Washington, D.C.) April 2, 2014 — Pope Francis visited the Italian island of Lampedusa last year to remember countless migrants and refugees from Africa and the Middle East who have lost their lives, sometimes forcibly turned back in rickety rafts while trying to reach Europe. Yesterday a delegation of U.S. Catholic Bishops visited the border to remember migrants who have died in the desert — a reminder of the true cost of inaction in the face of inhumane and uncaring policies.
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JRS Syria receives Pax Christi International Peace Award
(Rome) March 31, 2014 — The 2014 Pax Christi International Peace Award has been granted to Jesuit Refugee Service Syria for dedication in providing emergency relief to Syrians since the conflict began in 2011. Established in 1988, the Award honors contemporary individuals and organizations who make a stand for peace, justice and non-violence in different parts of the world.
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(Video update) Catholic Bishops: Immigration reform needed to end suffering, redeem the nation
(Washington, D.C.) March 19, 2014 —The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration, joined by bishops on the border, will travel to Nogales, Ariz., March 30 to April 1 to tour the U.S.-Mexico border and celebrate Mass on behalf of the close to 6,000 migrants who have died in the U.S. desert since 1998.
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CEOs from Largest U.S.-based Global NGO Alliance Call for Immediate, Unfettered Humanitarian Access in Syria
Washington, D.C. (March 12, 2014) — Fifty-three CEOs of major international nongovernmental organizations are calling on all parties to the Syrian conflict to “immediately allow and facilitate unfettered humanitarian access throughout Syria” in response to the biggest humanitarian crisis of our day.
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Take Action: Tell Congress Setting Quotas for Immigrant Detention is Wrong
(Washington, D.C. March 11, 2014 — Congress needs to hear from you today. Call and urge Congress to eliminate the detention bed quota, which requires DHS to keep 34,000 immigrants locked up in ICE detention facilities on any given day. This policy is unprecedented — no other law enforcement agency operates on a quota system.
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Jesuit Refugee Service: The Way of the Cross
(Washington, D.C.) March 5, 2014 — Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is pleased to again offer an online version of the Way of the Cross. The Way of the Cross, also known as the Stations of the Cross, grew from the pious practices of pilgrimages to Jerusalem during the Middle Ages. This version has been updated with new reflections and photographs from JRS projects around the world.
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Dem. Republic of Congo: entrepreneurial bicyclists
(Goma) February 27, 2014 — Trying to bring stability to displaced people in in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has become a major focus of Jesuit Refugee Service. One step in this direction has been to help people in Nzulo camp by providing microcredit to enable them to establish small business activities. Loans enable people to buy bikes they can use to transport coal, food and water to and from the camp.
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NGOs urge U.S. to take proactive measures for peace in South Sudan and Central African Republic
(Washington, D.C.) February 18, 2014 — Twenty-six organizations, including Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, recommended the U.S. take a specific series steps "to ensure that peacekeeping operations in both contexts have the best chance to halt violence, protect civilians, and stabilize" South Sudan and the Central African Republic.
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Asylum seekers and refugees benefit from immigration rules change (audio podcast)
(Washington, D.C.) February 11, 2014 — Provisions in immigration laws passed in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, collectively known as 'terrorism related inadmissibility grounds,' have affected thousands of persecuted refugees in need of protection, who pose no threat to national security. 
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JRS report: asylum seekers in Malta should not be returned to Libya
(Valletta, Malta) February 5, 2014 — A Jesuit Refugee Service Malta report concludes that asylum seekers should not be returned to Libya for any reason whatsoever because their safety, lives and freedoms are at risk. In Libya, they have virtually no chance of getting protection.
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Oscar nominated film illuminates child soldier issue
(Washington, D.C.) January 30, 2014 — The live action short film Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn't Me), written and directed by Esteban Crespo, highlights the harshness of the lives of child soldiers. The film has been nominated for an Academy Award and is now in theaters.
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Migrants and refugees: toward a better world
(Vatican City) January 29, 2014 – "Migrants and refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity. They are children, women and men who leave or who are forced to leave their homes for various reasons, who share a legitimate desire for knowing and having, but above all for being more," said Pope Francis on the one hundredth anniversary of World Day for Migrants and Refugees.
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Thailand: providing vital services to people in detention
(Washington, D.C.) January 13, 2014 — Jesuit Refugee Service/USA secured a grant from the J. Homer Butler Foundation that enabled Jesuit Refugee Service to provide medical care for detainees in Thailand’s largest immigration detention center, IDC Bangkok, which hosts an average of 1,000 detainees each day.
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Jesuits urge peaceful resolution to South Sudan crisis
(Washington, D.C.) January 8, 2014 — “We encourage all our friends and well-wishers of South Sudan, wherever they may be, to do all they can to advocate on behalf of South Sudan for a speedy, just and peaceful resolution of the current crisis,” said Jesuit Fr. Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator, Provincial of East Africa.
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Ignatian Social Justice advocates inspired by Teach-In
(Washington, D.C.) November 27, 2013 — Mary Small of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA provided attendees a policy update on humane immigration reform as more than 1,300 people connected with Jesuit institutions and the larger Catholic Church joined together to learn more about and discuss social justice issues at the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice here recently.
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Jesuit Refugee Service team member killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo
(Masisi, DRC) November 22, 2013 — Yohana Bushu, a Jesuit Refugee Service staff member in the Democratic Republic of Congo was shot two weeks ago and died in hospital a few hours later. Bushu died on his 40th birthday, and is survived by eight children and his wife, who is pregnant.
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Jesuit Refugee Service supporting local Philippine relief efforts in wake of typhoon
(Bangkok) November 18, 2013 — In the face of the enormous destruction and displacement wrought by typhoon Haiyan, Jesuit Refugee Service has decided the most practical immediate response is to provide logistical support to Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan, a local Jesuit-led organization.
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JRS: The legacy of Jesuit Father Pedro Arrupe
(Washington, D.C.) November 13, 2013 — The history of Jesuit Refugee Service is about the lives and hopes of people we know personally. This personal knowledge constantly transforms our understanding. JRS opens a door — beyond transitory and shocking images — into the inspiring lives of people struggling to defend their rights, protect their families and give their children a future.
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Social Justice Conference to culminate on Capitol Hill
(Washington, D.C.) November 11, 2013 — More than 1,000 individuals connected with Jesuit institutions and the Catholic Church converge at the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice this weekend. The Ignatian Solidarity Network, a social justice organization working primarily with Jesuit universities, high schools, parishes and other ministries throughout the country, sponsors the conference.
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Afghanistan: Seeking peace, focusing on education
(Washington, D.C.) November 7, 2013 — Jesuit Refugee Service has accompanied and served the people of Afghanistan for eight years by providing education at various levels, teacher training, vocational training and livelihoods programs to build up human and material resources for the sustainable development of vulnerable groups.
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News archive
American States, humanitarian groups united in concern about statelessness in Dominican Republic
(Washington D.C.) October 31, 2013 — Jesuit Refugee Service and other humanitarian organizations share the concerns of the Organization of American States about the recent ruling issued by the Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic that could arbitrarily deprive thousands of Dominicans of foreign descent of their nationality.
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Crisis grows in Central African Republic
(Washington, D.C.) October 31, 2013 — Jesuit Refugee Service and other organizations urge the international community to act quickly in the Central African Republic to protect civilians and prevent further atrocities against them. The increasingly dire humanitarian situation threatens the stability of the entire country.
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JRS report highlights abuses against Central American migrants in Mexico
(Washington, D.C.) October 28, 2013 — A new report from Jesuit Refugee Service/USA notes that the flows of migrants from Central America toward the U.S. require special consideration both from a human rights perspective and because their vulnerability is intimately linked to continued regional insecurity. The report, Persistent Insecurity: Abuses against Central Americans in Mexico, includes specific recommendations to alleviate the abuses faced by migrants on their journey.
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Join us in a Day of Action against statelessness in the Dominican Republic
(Washington, D.C.) October 23, 2013 — Jesuit Refugee Service/USA stands with Centro Bonó, a Jesuit organization in the Dominican Republic, and in solidarity with nearly half a million Dominicans of foreign descent who are facing statelessness after a court ruling which threatens to denationalize them.
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Dominican Republic may render 500,000 stateless
(Washington, D.C.) October 23, 2013 — One month ago, on September 23, the Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic issued an extremely worrying ruling which threatens to denationalize as many as half a million Dominicans of foreign descent because their parents—or in some cases their grandparents or great-grandparents—were irregular migrants.
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The only way forward in Syria is through a culture of encounter and dialogue
(Beirut) October 9, 2013 — In response to the ongoing violent conflict in Syria, which has caused the death of more than 100,000 people and displaced almost seven million people, tens of thousands of Syrians across religious, ethnic and economic divides have been working continuously for harmony as they reach out to build "a culture of encounter and dialogue."
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JRS Middle East Director visits U.S. to discuss Syria
(Washington D.C.) October 8, 2013 — The Director of Jesuit Refugee Service Middle East and North Africa is visiting the United States to discuss the ongoing JRS response to the crisis in Syria with Jesuit colleagues, and staff from the United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations.
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Refugees earn diplomas from Jesuit Regis University
(Dzaleka, Malawi) October 7, 2013 – In many ways, the graduation ceremony in Dzaleka refugee camp in Malawi looked like any other — mortarboards and tassels, proud parents and renowned speakers giving advice. But it was anything but ordinary; it was first time ever that students were granted access to higher education in this refugee camp, or for that matter in most others.
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Migrant deaths at sea highlight need for extraordinary measures by Italy and the European Union
(Rome) October 3, 2013 – Today's tragic death of more than 90 men, women and children trying to seek safety in Europe marks the umpteenth tragedy in the Mediterranean this year. The continued inaction by the Italian authorities and the European Union is unjustifiable.
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Dominican Republic court ruling will render thousands of people stateless
(Washington, D.C.) September 27, 2013 — The Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic yesterday invalidated the nationality of children born to unauthorized migrants over the last 85 years. The alarmingly detailed ruling orders the Central Electoral Board to provide, within a year, a list of people to be stripped of their nationality.
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Alternatives to immigration detention in Europe
(Brussels) September 27, 2013 – Endangering the health and well-being of people by detaining them is unnecessary; governments can instead use community-based alternatives that are more dignified for migrants and more cost-effective for states. Jesuit Refugee Service Europe set out to understand what minimum factors are needed to ensure that alternatives to detention work.
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Kenya and Malawi: first graduation of university students sponsored by Jesuit Refugee Service
(Rome) September 24, 2013 — After years of planning and hard work in harsh conditions, the first group of 48 refugees sponsored by Jesuit Refugee Service graduate from university this week. The refugee graduates have been participants in the innovative online Diploma in Liberal Studies managed by Jesuit Refugee Service and Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins.
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Jesuit network welcomes introduction of the Protect Family Values at the Border Act
(Washington, D.C.) September 19, 2013 —Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, the Jesuit Conference, the Kino Border Initiative, and the Ignatian Solidarity Network join in supporting H.R. 3130, the Protect Family Values at the Border Act. This legislation protects the lives of vulnerable migrants and respects principles of Catholic social teaching which honor the dignity of all persons.
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Pope Francis appeals for hospitality and justice during visit to Jesuit Refugee Service
(Rome) September 15, 2013 — Speaking of the richness of refugee populations from all over the world, of so many different religions, cultures and beliefs, Pope Francis emphasized the wealth of diversity refugees bring to their host communities during a visit to to Jesuit Refugee Service Italy's Centro Astalli soup kitchen.
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Pope Francis' message to Jesuit Refugee Service
(Rome) September 12, 2013 – Pope Francis made an official visit to the Jesuit Refugee Service Italy soup kitchen in Rome on Tuesday. Immediately following his visit, the Holy Father delivered this speech to those gathered in the Chiesa del Gesù, a Jesuit church in the center of Rome where the headquarters of Jesuit Refugee Service Italy is located.
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Refugees share their stories with Pope Francis
(Rome) September 11, 2013 — In anticipation of the visit yesterday by Pope Francis to Centro Astalli, the Jesuit Refugee Service center for refugees in Rome, several refugees shared their personal experiences in letters to the Holy Father. Two of those letters — written by refugees from Darfur and Syria — and a letter from the country director of JRS Italy are shared here with you.
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Faith Leaders to Congress: Vote No on Syria Strikes
(Washington, D.C.) September 10, 2013 — Fr. Thomas H. Smolich, S.J., President of the Jesuit Conference of the United States and a member of the Board of Directors of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, joined 40 other faith leaders from national Christian, Jewish, and Muslim organizations urging Congress to oppose the proposed authorization for the use of military force in Syria.
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Pope Francis: War is always a defeat for humanity
(Vatican City) September 9, 2013 – Tens of thousands of people answered the call by Pope Francis for a cry for peace in Syria on Saturday, a call which was echoed by Christians and non-Christians alike in vigils around the world. The Pope emphasized the futility and danger of war and the need for governments to map out a pathway to a non-violent solution in Syria.
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Prayer for Syria: blessed are the peacemakers
(Rome) September 6, 2013 — Pope Francis has invited Christians, faithful of other religions and all people of good will to join together tomorrow in a worldwide fast and prayer for peace in Syria. This appeal comes in midst of the public discussion about military options and interventions. The once hopeful movement for political change has now become a blood bath. Each turn in this conflict has led to increased violence and destruction.
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Preview: The Refugee Voice looks at Panama
(Washington, D.C.) September 3, 2013 — Despite the ongoing peace negotiations between the government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the largest guerilla group, displacements both within the country and across international borders have not slowed. Refugees in Panama report recent threats and attacks by guerillas, neo-paramilitaries and other armed groups.
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Burma refugees strive for self-reliance in Thailand
(Wieng Haeng, Thailand) August 29, 2013 – More than a decade ago, two Thai Buddhist temples opened their doors to provide sanctuary to 500 Burmese Shan refugees fleeing conflict between the Shan State Army and Burmese military forces in southern Burma. This hospitality was later extended to the refugees by the local authorities of the rural town of Wieng Haeng.
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Chad: providing education to refugees from Darfur
(Washington, D.C.) August 14, 2013 — Utilizing a grant from the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA and our colleagues in the Jesuit Refugee Service West Africa Region are providing secondary education to refugees in two camps in Chad.
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Faith leaders to host National Migration Conference
(Washington, D.C.) August 9, 2013 — The 2014 National Migration Conference will be held in the nation's capital next July. The conference is expected to bring more than 800 participants, including renowned experts and speakers to discuss a wide range of migration related topics.
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Promoting reconciliation in the lives of refugees
(Siem Reap, Cambodia) August 8, 2013 – Jesuit Refugee Service partnered with Boston College to co-sponsor a reconciliation workshop in Siem Reap, Cambodia, in late June. Participants produced a corresponding draft document articulating the principles of reconciliation underlying JRS programming. The final version will be published this autumn.
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JRS condemns new Australian refugee policy
(Sydney) July 22, 2013 — Jesuit Refugee Service has condemned the Australian government’s ‘PNG Solution’ and has called on the Prime Minister to disclose the true cost of this cruel and inhumane policy — the cost to the Australian taxpayer, and to the community of Papua New Guinea and the lives of those people seeking refuge in Australia.  
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Australia: losing perspective in the search for simple solutions
(Sydney) July 21, 2013 – Jesuit Refugee Service has welcomed the recent visit to Indonesia by the Australian Prime Minister as part of the 2013 leadership meeting between the two countries on July 5. JRS also commends the President of Indonesia's proposal for his country to host a regional summit on irregular movement of people in the region.
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JRS joins multi-faith call for refugee protection
(Geneva) July 10, 2013 – Jesuit Refugee Service joined together with the UN refugee agency and representatives of a number of faith-based organizations to call for greater protection for refugees. The declaration, known as an Affirmation of Welcome, is the first to involve UNHCR and a spectrum of faith-based organizations.
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Pope calls for global response to forced migration
(Rome) July 9, 2013 – Pope Francis made a symbolic stand for human rights and justice yesterday as he visited the island of Lampedusa, Italy, to stand in solidarity with the migrants and refugees who journey to the island in hopes of a peaceful future in Europe.
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Podcast: Refugee from Afghanistan in Panama
(Washington, D.C.) July 8, 2013 — In today's audio edition of The Refugee Voice we'll hear from a refugee from Afghanistan who has been living in Panama City, Panama, for more than three years. This man had a successful business before being forced to flee his country.
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Central African Republic: Despite insecurity, JRS returns and resumes education programs
(Rome) July 6, 2013 – Three months after being forced to abandon the Central African Republic, Jesuit Refugee Service teams returned to the country in June. Despite ongoing insecurity, JRS has opened a new project benefiting 16,000 children from conflict-affected districts of the capital, Bangui.
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Sanctuary means protection for displaced in Congo
(Rome) July 5, 2013 — "Congo is where we get the coltan to make our mobile phones and laptops. It's where we get diamonds for wedding rings. It's where we get copper for our houses and cars. It's also a place where nearly half of the women have been raped during conflict… where the state is weak and rogue militias are strong," said Jesuit Refugee Service Great Lakes Africa Communications Officer Danilo Giannese.
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Europe: JRS notes gaps in asylum protection
(Brussels) July 3, 2013 — The asylum system in Croatia is at the limit of its capacity, and is having trouble dealing with higher numbers of asylum seekers and migrants as it gets ready to join the EU, according to a new report by Jesuit Refugee Service Europe: 'From Back Door to Front Door: Forced migration routes through Macedonia to Croatia.'
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JRS Concerned by Humanitarian Situation of Rohingya
(Washington, D.C.) June 24, 2013 — Jesuit Refugee Service and 75 other organizations have released a statement urging the government of Myanmar to take action to protect the Rohingya, a stateless minority of Myanmar who have endured decades of abuse, persecution and discrimination.
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Taking Action on World Refugee Day
(Washington, D.C.) June 20, 2013 — The Senate immigration reform bill contains provisions that, if passed, would be a huge step forward for refugees and asylees in the United States. On World Refugee Day today, join Jesuit Refugee Service/USA in taking action to protect refugees and asylum seekers right here in the United States. Call your Senator and tell him or her why you care about refugees and asylum-seekers and ask them to protect ALL the asylum and refugee provisions currently in the bill.
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Dem. Rep. of Congo: Prioritize child protection
(Rome) June 20, 2013 – Jesuit Refugee Service, Child Soldiers International and other non-governmental organizations are urging the UN and Congolese government to use the imminent deployment of a UN “Intervention Brigade” in the Democratic Republic of Congo to strengthen the protection of children against recruitment and prevent their use in hostilities.
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Kenya: Nairobi church welcomes urban refugees
(Nairobi) June 17, 2013 — The St. John the Baptist Catholic Church here offers sanctuary and sustenance to refugees and supports Jesuit Refugee Service by providing office space for a social worker and a meeting room for prayer groups of refugees. Additionally, parishioners have donated food and clothing to refugees in the area.
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Father's Day Reflection
(Washington, D.C.) June 16, 2013 — On this Father's Day, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA shares the story of a refugee from Syria. We honor the millions of refugee fathers who have the courage to flee to protect their families, who fight for their families as they seek refuge and safety in new lands, and who persevere in the face of immense challenges.
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Jesuit Refugee Service Panama and the Fair Trade Network, together for a more supportive economy
(Panama City) June 14, 2013 — Jesuit Refugee Service Panama and the Fair Trade Network propose a new focus for humanitarian assistance programs. They propose a new logic, one that breaks the cycle of mere handouts and, together with the refugees, develops new commercial alternatives.
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CINEP reveals that “false positives” continue
(Bogotá) June 11, 2013 — The increase in the number of cases of “false positives” (extrajudicial killings), the continuation of paramilitarism and the impunity of rights violators are the most-worrying illegal practices in Columbia, according to a special 2012 report by the Center of Research and Popular Education/Program for Peace (CINEP/PPP).
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Sanctuary and Sustenance: World Refugee Day 2013
(Rome) June 10, 2013 — The Jesuit Refugee Service International office will host 'Sanctuary and Sustenance,' an outdoor photo projection and indoor photo gallery next week in Rome, to mark World Refugee Day. The photographs chronicle the resilience of refugees and the hospitality of their host countries.
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Pontifical Council for Migrants: Humanity first
(Rome) June 9, 2013 – Jesuit Refugee Service welcomes the latest report, published Thursday by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, as hugely significant to host communities receiving mixed flows of migrants and refugees.
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Syria: civilians organize a cleaning campaign in Aleppo
(Aleppo) June 6, 2013 – Since the end of a harsh winter, and the onset of summer, humanitarian agencies have been issuing health warnings in relation to the collapse of infrastructure and municipal services in Syria. In Aleppo, as temperatures rise above 85 degrees F., reports of preventable diseases are on the increase.
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Europe: EU rules impede asylum protection
(Brussels) June 4, 2013 – Asylum seekers in Europe are often faced with EU rules that hinder their ability to seek asylum in an EU country where they would feel most protected. This is according to a new Jesuit Refugee Service Europe report, 'Protection Interrupted,' released today. The report is based on interviews with 257 asylum seekers and migrants in nine EU countries.
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JRS directors received by Pope Francis
(Rome) June 3, 2013 — Jesuit Refugee Service International Director Peter Balleis S.J. and JRS Middle East and North Africa Director Nawras Sammour S.J. attended the final session of a three-day assembly promoting the theme of welcoming displaced people, during which Pope Francis made a plea to extend hospitality and pursue justice for refugees.
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Jesuit Refugee Service/USA Appoints National Director
(Washington, D.C.) May 29, 2013 — The Jesuit Refugee Service/USA Board of Directors announced today that longtime staff member Armando Borja has been named our National Director. Since its founding in 1980, Jesuit Refugee Service has touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of displaced people around the world. Our work in the U.S. includes chaplaincies for immigration detainees, advocacy on worldwide refugee issues and financial support for international projects.
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JRS director underlines importance of Jesuit values
(Spokane) May 28, 2013 – As they embark on the next stage of their lives university graduates should remember the Ignatian principle of pursuing aspirations both for oneself and our interconnected world, noted Jesuit Refugee Service International Director Fr. Peter Balleis S.J. in a speech at Gonzaga University.
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Training volunteers for immigration detention programs
(Washington, D.C) May 21, 2013 — Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement teamed up with Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, a longstanding partner of the U.S. visitation movement, to create two training videos: one on how to be a good listener and the other on how to recruit volunteers to the immigration detention visitation movement.
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Immigration: limit dangerous deportation practices
(Washington, D.C.) May 9, 2013 — Jesuit Refugee Service/USA and 60 other organizations have written a letter to members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee urging them to support an amendment that will limit dangerous deportation practices. The amendment was proposed by Sen. Chris Coons to S.744, the immigration reform bill under consideration.
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U.S. and Colombian Faith Leaders Join to Support Peace with Justice in Colombia
(Washington, D.C.) May 7, 2013 — Fifty-six faith leaders in the United States and Colombia have joined to send letters to U.S. President Obama, U.S. Secretary of State Kerry, and Colombian President Santos calling for U.S. policy that prioritizes peace and human rights in Colombia. These two letters urge the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia guerilla group to stay the course and continue negotiations until a peace-accord is signed.
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Take Action for Peace with Justice in Colombia
(Washington, D.C.) April 26, 2013 — With an ongoing civil war that has displaced more than five million people in the last 50 years, Colombia continues to suffer one of the largest displacements and humanitarian crises in the world today. More than half a million Colombians have fled Colombia into neighboring countries and those in Colombia still face violence in their communities. Unfortunately, U.S. policy towards the conflict has helped in fueling the violence.
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Jesuit Refugee Service aims for threefold expansion of higher education to refugees by 2018
(Washington, D.C.) April 24, 2013 – With less than one university-trained teacher for every 280 Darfur refugees in Chad, the case for greater access to higher education is clear. To meet these needs, Jesuit Refugee Service plans to expand its provision of higher education from three to 10 sites by 2018.
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Video: JRS in the Middle East
(Los Angeles) April 15, 2013 — The Ignatian News Network met with Colin Gilbert, director of Jesuit Refugee Service Jordan, during his recent visit to Jesuit universities and parishes throughout the United States.
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UNHCR—Jesuit agreement enhances higher education opportunities for refugees
(Rome) April 12, 2013 – The United Nations refugee agency and Jesuit Refugee Service, through our partner Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins initiative, have signed an agreement to enhance higher education opportunities for refugees and other forcibly displaced people through online and on-site courses.
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Immigration reform must preserve family unity
(Washington, D.C.) April 10, 2013 — Father Sean Carroll S.J. is highlighting failures to preserve family unity in the context of immigration enforcement and offering four recommendations for Congressional consideration at an Ad Hoc hearing today on Capitol Hill. The Jesuit priest is Executive Director of the Kino Border Initiative.
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Immigration hearing to focus on family unity
(Washington, D.C.) April 3, 2013 — Father Sean Carroll S.J., Executive Director of the Kino Border Initiative, will testify with others on April 10 at an Ad-hoc Congressional Hearing. The Jesuit priest will address the human cost of the current immigration system as witnessed daily by staff and volunteers who serve at KBI’s Aid Center for Deported Migrants on the Arizona—Mexico border.
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Jesuit Refugee Service/USA 2012 Annual Report
(Washington, D.C.) March 22, 2013 — The 2012 Jesuit Refugee Service/USA Annual Report is now online. To reduce costs, a limited number are being printed. You can view and read a PDF of the report online, or download it to your favorite e-reader or tablet to read offline.
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Rockhurst University highlights refugee issues
(Washington, D.C.) March 12, 2013 — Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Mo., will host a mock refugee camp on April 9 and April 10 to promote awareness among the Rockhurst community about the living conditions of refugees in camps throughout the world, and the setbacks these refugees encounter when applying for assistance.
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Thailand: refugee camp fire relief efforts underway
(Bangkok) March 27, 2013 – A fire that swept through Mae Surin refugee camp in northern Thailand last Friday has been met with swift relief by NGOs and community-based organizations. According to Jesuit Refugee Service staff, 37 Burmese refugees and asylum seekers lost their lives and several thousands have been made homeless.
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Kenya: protecting women and children in Kakuma
(Kakuma, Kenya) March 26, 2013 – Bridging the gender gap and protecting women and children are priorities for Jesuit Refugee Service and most, if not all, NGOs and UN agencies here in Kakuma refugee camp. Campaigns are organized to raise awareness of the plight of women, and education and training courses seek to strengthen the position of women.
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Pope Francis: protect humanity, the poor, the weak
(Rome) March 21, 2013 – In his inauguration Mass homily Tuesday, Pope Francis called on those in positions of responsibility and all men and women of goodwill to be protectors of creation and humanity, and not allow "hatred, envy and pride" to taint their lives.
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Jordan: women empowering themselves
(Amman) March 18, 2013 – The life-skills class at the informal education project in Amman is a recent addition to the curriculum. As more and more Syrian women brought their families to register at the school, it became evident that the women were also searching to learn practical new skills.
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Syria: two years of conflict threatens children’s education and well-being
(Beirut, Rome, Washington, D.C.) March 15, 2013 — As the conflict in Syria enters its third year, the protection and well-being of Syrian children continue to be gravely compromised. Despite efforts by local and international organisations, the collapse of critical infrastructure is hindering delivery of key services.
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Dominican Republic: 15 arrested, including Jesuit priest, protesting denationalization policies
(Washington, D.C.) March 13, 2013 — Fifteen activists were arrested Monday while conducting a peaceful protest outside the Dominican Republic’s Central Electoral Board in Santo Domingo. Among those arrested was Jesuit Father Mario Serrrano Marte, Executive Director of Centro Bonó, and several members of Reconoci.do.
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Film commemorates International Women’s Day
(Washington, D.C.) February 26, 2013 — In celebration of International Women’s Day, please join Jesuit Refugee Service/USA for a screening of the documentary 'We Women Warriors' on Monday, March 11, at the Gala Hispanic Theatre in Washington, D.C.
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Jordan: JRS adapts to community needs
(Amman) March 7, 2013 – In its early years, the JRS school in Amman catered only to Iraqi refugees. But, the influx of Sudanese, Somali and Syrian students into the school in 2012 created many challenges. As Jordan hosts more refugees, the JRS school has adapted to the changing situation.
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Migrants in detention: ‘you are not forgotten’
(Washington, D.C.) February 28, 2013 — Jesuit Refugee Service/USA provides direct service to detained migrants via the Detention Chaplaincy Program. Through the program, chaplains promote courage, hope and peace for detainees in the ups and downs and day-to-day routines of their lives inside a detention facility.
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Congo: more action to make peace a reality
(Goma/Washington, D.C./Kinshasa) February 24, 2013 – A group of prominent Congolese and international NGOs today called on countries in Africa's Great Lakes region and their international partners to ensure that the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework Agreement signed today is given the political backing necessary to bring an end to war in eastern Congo.
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Dem. Rep. of Congo: call for a genuine peace process
(Goma) February 14, 2012 – For years the international community has attempted to help stabilize eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, at the expense of billions of dollars, yet sustainable peace remains elusive. At the end of 2012 more than 2.7 million people were estimated displaced in DRC, up from 1.7 million in 2011.
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Refugees, Migrants and The Way of the Cross
(Washington, D.C.) February 13, 2013 — As the season of Lent commences, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA invites you to participate in our online Way of the Cross series. The series consists of a reflection centered on refugees and forcibly displaced migrants for each of the Stations of the Cross.
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Dem. Rep. of Congo: school, the best deterrent against the recruitment of minors
(Goma) February 11, 2013 – For anyone who travels along the muddy and rugged roads of the eastern province of North Kivu, teenage boys clasping firearms is commonplace. Children are frequently the victims of forced recruitment in the ranks of one of the many armed groups in Congo.
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Signs of peace in Democratic Republic of Congo
(Bujumbura, Burundi) February 5, 2013 – After months of bitter conflict, intercommunity tensions and dozens of dead in Masisi in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, there is an atmosphere of calm and a renewed sense of hope between local communities. The participation of teachers and students in a workshop on teaching methods is a concrete sign of this desire to start over.
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Nepal: brighter future awaits 75,000 resettled refugees
(New Delhi) January 25, 2013 – As the camp population decreases and the international resettlement effort continues, Jesuit Refugee Service celebrates the successful resettlement of 75,000 refugees from Nepal, the majority of them beginning new lives in the United States. Six-year-old Yagandra Kami recently became the 75,000th Bhutanese refugee to leave Nepal for a new life.
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Jordan: there is a refugee inside each of us
(Amman) January 11, 2013 – The Jesuit Commons—Higher Education at the Margins online diploma program was implemented in June 2012 in Amman. It serves as the first free tertiary education online program for refugees in the region. The first class, comprising 19 students, attend lessons together daily for three hours, allowing them to learn together.
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India: training programs aid Chin refugees
(New Delhi) January 4, 2012 – Twenty women graduated from the first Jesuit Refugee Service-sponsored Chin women's tailoring course here, receiving not only new sewing machines for Christmas, but the know-how to make use of them in the new year and beyond.
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Advent: refugees – people without past and future
(Rome) December 18, 2010 – During Advent, Jesuit Refugee Service International Director Fr. Peter Balleis, S.J. reflects upon the dire straits of refugees. "Refugees live at the crossroads between past and future. They just live in the here-and-now, often on the margins of society, at the borders of countries, in a ‘no man's land.'"
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Your generosity enables our service
(Washington, D.C.) December 14, 2012 — When tragedy struck in Haiti in 2010, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA supporters responded swiftly and generously, contributing more than $1,890,000 to relief efforts. If there is a need, be it caused by natural disaster or violent conflict, JRS will be there, thanks to the generosity of our supporters.
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In Memory: Angelo Lagu, JRS South Sudan
(Nairobi) December 15, 2012 — It is with profound sadness that Jesuit Refugee Service Eastern Africa announces the sudden and tragic demise of our colleague Angelo Lagu, JRS South Sudan Country Director. Our friend died in a road accident on the evening of Thursday, December 6.
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In Memory: Acacio Belandria S.J., human rights advocate
(Bogota) December 15, 2012 — One man who believed in the absolute dignity of all human beings and blatantly fought against the discrimination of the most marginalized and excluded of Venezuela was Jesuit priest Acacio Belandria. Sadly, he passed away Dec. 10 in a car accident, leaving his parishioners and El Nula's people in deep sorrow.
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Dialogue on Faith and Protection for refugees
(Washington, D.C.) December 11, 2012 — Jesuit Refugee Service will participate in the United Nations High Commissioner's Dialogue on Protection Challenges, which begins Wednesday. The theme — Faith and Protection — highlights the important role local religious communities play in protecting asylum seekers, refugees and other persons of concern.
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Governments must end the detention of children
(Melbourne and Brussels) December 10, 2012 – On Human Rights Day today the International Detention Coalition, of which Jesuit Refugee Service is a member, urges governments to take steps to end detention of children and start employing humane community-based alternatives. Detention has a negative psychological and emotional impact on children, who typically do not pose a threat.
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Seeking answers in death of teen at border
(Washington, D.C.) November 29, 2012 — Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, the Jesuit Conference, the Kino Border Initiative and 30 additional organizations sent a letter to Customs and Border Protection requesting a meeting to discuss a pattern of deadly confrontations resulting in the deaths of at least 15 Mexican civilians — including two minors — along the border since 2010.
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JRS invites you to celebrate the season of Advent
(Washington, D.C.) November 28, 2012 — Jesuit Refugee Service/USA invites you to celebrate Advent with us by taking part in our online spiritual retreat. First developed for our 30th anniversary in 2010, the retreat allows participants to reflect prayerfully on the ways in which we discover the presence of God in our ministry with refugees and displaced persons.
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Families terrorized in Dem. Rep. of Congo
(Goma) November 27, 2012 — Displaced families in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are daily suffering the effects of the violent attacks of numerous armed rebel groups in the area and are living in constant fear of the imminent arrival of the M23 rebels, who have already taken control of Goma in eastern Congo.
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Hope through learning: higher education for refugees
(Washington, D.C.) November 24, 2012 – Georgetown University President Dr. John DiGioia commemorated the 32nd anniversary of Jesuit Refugee Service this month by hosting a special panel discussion stressing the importance of refugee education and the partnership of JRS and Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins.
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Dem. Rep. of Congo: tragedy unfolding in Goma
(Bujumbura, Burundi) November 21, 2012 – Tens of thousands of women, children and men are currently fleeing areas around the North Kivu capital Goma, in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, ahead of a violent armed advance conducted by the M23 rebel group, which took control of the city yesterday.
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President Obama: press refugee issues in Burma
(Washington, D.C.) November 16, 2012 — Monday President Barack Obama becomes the first U.S. president to visit Burma. Ahead of his trip, Refugee Council USA, a coalition of U.S. non-governmental organizations including Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, delivered to the president a letter urging the issue of extremely vulnerable people, including refugees and internally displaced persons, and members of persecuted minorities including the Rohingya, Chin, and Kachin communities, be addressed.
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Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice begins today
(Washington, D.C.) November 16, 2012 — Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is one of more than 50 organizations at the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice this weekend. Sponsored by the Ignatian Solidarity Network, the event brings together more than 1,000 students and others passionate about faith-inspired social justice to Washington, D.C.
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Stop the forgotten conflict in the Dem. Rep. of Congo
(North Kivu, DRC) November 14, 2012 — Since August, communities living in Masisi district in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have been displaced on a daily basis and at least 18 have been murdered, caught between tit-for-tat attacks by opposing rebel groups. Unless the peacekeeping forces and the Congolese army urgently intervene to protect the civilian population, more innocent lives will be lost.
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JRS at 32: Kindling hope through learning
(Rome) November 14, 2012 – To mark the the thirty-second anniversary of the foundation of Jesuit Refugee Service, JRS International Director Fr. Peter Balleis, S.J. sent the following letter reflecting on the human, pedagogical and spiritual aspects of the JRS mission.
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U.S. aid critical to combat humanitarian emergencies
(Washington, D.C.) November 6, 2012 — Jesuit Refugee Service/USA joined an InterAction coalition of 39 non-governmental organizations yesterday signing onto a letter to Congress in support of funding U.S. humanitarian assistance. Nearly 44 million people are currently displaced around the world due to conflict, the highest level in 15 years.
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Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice returns to D.C.
(Washington, D.C.) October 22, 2012— Jesuit Refugee Service/USA will be one of more than 50 organizations at the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice in November. Sponsored by the Ignatian Solidarity Network, the event brings together more than 1,000 students and others passionate about faith-inspired social justice to Washington, D.C., from November 16-18, 2012.
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Jordan: refugees from Syria struggle to adjust
(Amman) October 3, 2012 – While refugee children from Syria are allowed to enroll free of charge in public schools in Jordan, the atmosphere within the schools is not always ideal. Accounts from Syrian families in contact with Jesuit Refugee Service staff vary from complaints of discrimination to others who seem to have settled in.
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Video: the crisis in Syria
(Washington, D.C.) September 20, 2012 — The Ignatian News Network recently spoke with Fr. Paolo Dall'Oglio, S.J., who was expelled from Syria earlier this year after having worked in the country for 30 years. Fr. Dall'Oglio and others in this video discuss the complexities of the crisis affecting the people of Syria.
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Dem. Rep. of Congo: protect the rights of children
(Kinshasa) September 19, 2012 – Jesuit Refugee Service and a coalition of NGOs urge the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to take stronger actions to prevent the recruitment of children into armed groups. Under international law, the recruitment or use of children by armed forces or armed groups is unlawful and may constitute a war crime.
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Syria: displaced families struggle to find shelter
(Amman) September 14, 2012 — Despite support currently offered by Jesuit Refugee Service, the ability to provide adequate shelter in the coming months is unclear as the destruction of homes and basic infrastructure continues unabated. During the summer months authorities allowed tens of thousands of Syrians to take shelter in schools. Now, as schools open again, the question of what to do with displaced and homeless people is on everyone's minds.
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NGOs urge governments to protect stateless people
(Bangkok) September 10, 2012 — Jesuit Refugee Service and other humanitarian organizations are deeply concerned about stateless populations. Roughly 12 million people globally are deprived of rights to citizenship, access to education, health, and employment through statelessness. 
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Syria: JRS expands emergency support in Aleppo
(Amman, Jordan) August 29, 2012 — Over the past three weeks, fighting has intensified in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. Despite the difficulty to access the city, Jesuit Refugee Service teams — in conjunction with volunteer networks of solidarity — have continued to provide emergency support to the many thousands of displaced families.
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Thailand: funding shortfall leads to education gaps
(Mae Hong Son, Thailand) August 27, 2012 — Funding shortages for the education of refugees along the Thai-Burma border may negatively affect preparedness for return. The focus of the international donor community is shifting from the camps towards inside Burma, and a lack of sufficient resources has forced organizations in the camps, such as Jesuit Refugee Service, to make cutbacks to critical programs.
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World Humanitarian Day
(Nairobi) August 17, 2012 — United Nations World Humanitarian Day is this Sunday, August 19. The day is a time to recognise those who face danger and adversity in order to help others. Every day humanitarian aid workers help millions of people around the world, regardless of who they are and where they are.
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Dem. Rep. of Congo: JRS schools provide hope
(Kaputa, Zambia) August 7, 2012 — Funding from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration enabled Jesuit Refugee Service to build 14 schools in the Democratic Republic of Congo, thus furthering the education of up to five thousand students.
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Update on JRS emergency response to Syria crisis
(Amman, Jordan) August 6, 2012 — As the Syrian crisis enters its 17th month, Jesuit Refugee Service teams, in cooperation with civil society volunteer networks, have stepped up their emergency responses. Yet rising displacement, insecurity and food shortages are further complicating these emergency actions.
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Jordan: rethinking the traditional university model
(Amman) July 31, 2012 — As technology contributes to the rapid change taking place in the Arab world, Jesuit Refugee Service and Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins have used it to initiate an online Liberal Studies Diploma for urban refugees here in Jordan's capital.
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Syria: JRS helping displaced families
(Amman, Jordan) July 26, 2012 — Jesuit Refugee Service is reaching out to thousands of internally displaced Syrians by working in cooperation with local solidarity networks, well-developed Jesuit networks and existing JRS Syria projects. Doing so has enabled JRS to expand our services to some of the most vulnerable displaced Syrians in the country.
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Rohingya of Myanmar face statelessness
(Washington, D.C.) July 23, 2012 — The stateless Rohingya of Myanmar have suffered from extreme persecution and discrimination for decades. They are now facing another crisis. On June 3, inter-communal violence erupted, and this has evolved into large-scale state sponsored violence against the Rohingya. The Rohingya population needs urgent measures to be taken for their protection.
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Women: advocates of community solidarity
(Bujumbura, Burundi) July 19, 2012 – Since the end of the civil war in 2005, hundreds of thousands of refugees have returned home from exile in Tanzania. Excruciatingly high population density, poverty and ethnic tensions result in frequent out breaks in communal conflict. Enhancing the role of women and reducing food insecurity have long been strategy of the Jesuit Refugee Service in Burundi.
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Jordan: offering education in an emergency
(Amman) July 17, 2012 — As increasing numbers of Syrians arrive in Jordan fleeing the deterioration in security back home, the Jesuit Refugee Service has expanded its latest project, offering emergency education to children and adolescents.
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Rohingya flee violence in Myanmar, Bangladesh turns them back
(Washington, D.C.) July 13, 2012 — Jesuit Refugee Service and other civil society organizations are deeply concerned by on-going violence against stateless Rohingya people in Myanmar and their refoulement from Bangladesh. In Myanmar, what began as inter-communal violence has evolved into large-scale state sponsored violence against the Rohingya, while Bangladesh closed its border and pushed back many Rohingya fleeing the violence and persecution in Myanmar.
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Family Separations Highlight Broken U.S. Immigration System
(Washington, D.C.) July 11, 2012 — Last month, the Interfaith Immigration Coalition, of which Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is a member, held a congressional briefing on U.S. immigration policy and its effect on American families. The IIC is working to bring awareness to the simple yet controversial fact that our immigration system has separated numerous hard working families.
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JRS joins campaign to stop rape and gender violence in conflict
(Rome) July 5, 2012 – Last month Jesuit Refugee Service officially signed on as a member of the International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict. Refugees and internally displaced persons suffer sexual- and gender based violence in their homes, while they flee and once they arrive in their host communities. Membership in the campaign offers enhanced opportunities for JRS to raise awareness of these crimes and promote political action.
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Asia Pacific: research shows failings in protection
(Bangkok) July 3, 2012 — 'The Search: Protection Space in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, The Philippines and Cambodia in Practice' is a practical guide which will assist advocates in providing accurate information to asylum seekers and refugees about the realities of protection space within the region.
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Video: united communities are stronger communities
(Rome) June 26, 2012 — In the midst of economic crisis, the fragile value of hospitality ought to be nurtured. Shrinking economic opportunities are placing greater burden on overstretched social support networks, fueling intolerance. Dehumanization and hostility marginalize refugees even further.
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South Sudan: Seeing life in a different light
(Nimule, South Sudan) June 25, 2012 – At 19 years old, Loria views her life with a lot of hope. However when she first moved home after exile, this was not the case. Jesuit Refugee Service has helped her to see life in a different light. Despite recently losing her father, Loria showed strength of spirit and a positive attitude during her interview with JRS. She shares her story with us.
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Updates from the Kino Border Initiative
(Nogales, Arizona) June 22, 2012 —  The Kino Border Initiative provides assistance to men, women and children who have been deported from the U.S. to Mexico. Deportees who are citizens of Mexico are often sent via bus to border crossings to walk back into Mexico. They generally have little or no money and only the clothes on their back.
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World Refugee Day: an opportunity for world leaders
(Rome) June 18, 2012 — Over the next two days, the leaders of the G20 nations will make difficult decisions regarding the stability of the global economy. On June 20, World Refugee Day, Jesuit Refugee Service urges world leaders to place social cohesion at the core of their decision-making process, and not lose sight of the needs of more than 45 million forcibly-displaced migrants worldwide.
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Kenya: Storytelling for change
(Kakuma, Kenya) June 15, 2012 — An enthusiastic and creative group of 33 refugees gathered at the Arrupe Learning Centre in Kakuma Refugee Camp last month to learn about communications and writing. Two workshops were organized to develop skills related to the written word as a means of helping those outside the camp to understand life there and relate to the journey and plight of refugees.
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Reception & exhibition in honor of World Refugee Day
(Washington, D.C.) June 12, 2012 — You are invited to join Jesuit Refugee Service/USA on Monday June 18 for a reception and photo exhibition in honor of World Refugee Day. The event will debut a collection of original images of JRS' work accompanying refugees and displaced people around the world.
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UNHCR: refugees need opportunities for higher education
(Denver) June 9, 2012 — The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees regional representative for the United States and Caribbean praised efforts so far but told attendees at the first international Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins Think Tank conducted at Regis University earlier this year that “we need to be better” when it comes to the refugee situation.
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Dem. Rep. of Congo: food aid urgently needed
(Goma) May 25, 2012 — When we met 38-year-old Faida Zahir, she was breastfeeding one-month-old Dorica. She was seated on a bench in a small Protestant church in Mugunga, a few kilometres from Goma, the capital of North Kivu. Dorica and her mother were one of the 500 families who have found refuge in the church and the primary school next door.
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Brazil: Haitian migrants in Amazonia
(Bogotá) May 17, 2012 — More than 350 Haitians, stranded for three months in the rural Brazilian border province of Tabatinga, began arriving last month in Manaus, the capital of Amazonia. The arrival in Manaus marked the end of a long and painful wait of more than three months in a secluded province in the heart of Amazonia.
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Colombia: On Assignment in Soacha
(Bogota) May 14, 2012 — Crossing the city limits of Bogota into the sprawling urban environment of Soacha, walking the neighborhoods of the bustling port city of Buenaventura, and traversing the Calima and San Juan Rivers shed light on the story of a Colombia still trapped in civil war where basic security continues to be a grave challenge.
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Humanitarian emergency in the Dem. Rep. of Congo
(Goma, Rome, Washington, D.C.) May 7, 2012 – "The international community must commit to ensuring this region becomes safe and finally free of the armed groups, interested only in its natural resources, who prevent innocent civilians from living in peace," said Jesuit Refugee Service Great Lakes Director Fr Tony Calleja S.J.
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Kenya: We are our brother’s keeper
(Nairobi) May 7, 2012 – It is always possible to find a beam of hope even when life seems too hard to bear. This is the message I heard from a group of urban refugees who reside in Kitengela, Nairobi. The group members express their compassion for each other by meeting every two weeks for prayers and moral support. They embody the concept of being ‘their brother’s keepers.’
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President Obama urged to join Mine Ban Treaty
(Washington, D.C.) April 19, 2012 — Leaders from 76 nongovernmental organizations including Jesuit Refugee Service/USA delivered a letter to President Obama urging the U.S. to relinquish antipersonnel landmines and join the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty without further delay.
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Finding purpose by serving refugees
(Denver) April 17, 2012 — Clotilde Giner oversees a staff of 14 at Dzaleka refugee camp in Malawi, handling logistical issues and providing support for Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins teaching teams who seek to bring Jesuit higher education and a better life to the camp which is home to 16,000 refugees.
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Video: School educates youth, lifts community in Haiti
(Fond Parisien, Haiti) April 9, 2012 — "Many of these children would have no access to education without this project. The schools that do exist are too expensive. At the state level, there is no such thing as preschool. Preschools only exist thanks to organizations and foundations," said Sr. Camilla de Jesus, a member of the school's director office.
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Lend your leg to ban landmines
(Phnom Penh) April 3, 2012 — The idea is to end the destruction caused by landmines within our lifetime. How? By lending a leg, of course. Around the world, people are joining together in solidarity to take a stand, to step forward and to ‘Lend a Leg for a mine free world,' through the simple gesture of rolling up their pants leg. 
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Global approach to urban refugee issues
(Bangkok) March 31, 2012 — To Berlin, Bogotá, Bangkok. UN statistics show that most refugees around the world are going to cities. But do they all face similar obstacles in their new host cities? Are there common approaches Jesuit Refugee Service can take to serve refugees living in urban areas? At a recent meeting, JRS staff from more than 25 countries gave a qualified yes to these questions.
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Higher Education at the Margins charts future course
(Denver) March 13, 2012 — The firstJesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins Think Tank at Regis University came to a conclusion March 8 with a final round of spirited discussions, poignant presentations and the promise of recommendations that will guide the organization’s future in bring Jesuit higher education to those at the margins of our society.
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Asia Pacific: five wishes on International Women's Day
(Bangkok) March 8, 2012 — Women live in vulnerable situations throughout the region from border camps to urban apartment blocks. Over the past year, Jesuit Refugee Service has been collecting testimonies of women in the Asia Pacific. In commemoration of International Women’s Day, please share in their hopes for their futures and their families.
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Thailand: refugees use photography to share their lives
(Bangkok) February 7, 2012 — Jesuit Refugee Service Asia Pacific recently ran an urban refugee photo project in Bangkok called 'See What I See.' The project enabled the refugees themselves to share their stories through photography. A one-day photography training session was followed by two months of photography, culminating in a gallery exhibition.
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Philippines: appeal for assistance for flood victims
(Mindanao) January 19, 2012 – Just days before Christmas, more than 100,000 families' holiday season and hopes for the new year were washed away with the flash flood that struck the northern coast of Mindanao, Philippines. A month later, tropical storm Washi has left the country devastated.
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New Year’s Message from Jesuit Refugee Service/USA
(Washington, D.C.) January 1, 2012 — The year 2011 was a momentous one for refugees, internally displaced people and migrants. Jesuit Refugee Service/USA National Director Fr. Michael A. Evans, S.J., reflects back on 2011 while looking forward to 2012.
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A message of joy in the midst of fear
(Rome) December 25, 2011 — "I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people. Today unto us a child is born; he is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2, 10-11).
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Europe: EU states need not detain migrants
(Brussels) December 22, 2011 — Detaining migrants is unnecessary because more humane non-custodial alternatives exist, according to the latest Jesuit Refugee Service report, From Deprivation to Liberty. JRS Europe launched their new report the European Union Parliament, at an event which included members of the parliament and representatives from the Belgian Migration Office and NGOs.
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Report highlights systemic hindering of refugees
(Rome) December 8, 2011 — In a new report, JRS finds ample evidence that European governments actively hinder refugee arrivals. These deplorable practices are not limited to Europe; they are rapidly becoming the norm throughout Asia and Africa. The U.S. and Caribbean nations regularly restrict access to asylum processes for people with possible protection needs.
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JRS/USA 2011 Annual Report
(Washington, D.C.) December 5, 2011 — The 2011 Jesuit Refugee Service/USA Annual Report is now available online. For the first time, the report includes active links leading to more information online.
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Civil society frustrated by U.S. landmine policy review
(Phnom Penh, Cambodia) December 4, 2011 — Two years after launching a review of U.S. landmine policy, the Obama administration has still not announced plans to accede to the Mine Ban Treaty and end the use of antipersonnel landmines.
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Landmine survivor advocates for change
(Geneva) November 23, 2011 — With just days to go until the 11th Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines interviewed Song Kosal, from the Cambodian Campaign to Ban Landmines. Here Kosal speaks about her experience after a landmine accident and the need to spread the word about landmines.
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Cambodia: campaigning to ban landmines
(Geneva) November 21, 2011 — The International Campaign to Ban Landmines recently interviewed Sister Denise Coghlan, Director of Jesuit Refugee Service — Cambodia and member of the Cambodian Campaign to Ban Landmines. Sister Denise has been based in Cambodia and involved in the landmine issue and the campaign for more than 20 years.
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Dallas Jesuit College Prep helps area refugees
(Washington, D.C.) November 16, 2011 — Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas student volunteers from the American/African Outreach Society held two events recently with and for refugees both in the Dallas area and in Kenya. A soccer tournament which raised funds for Kakuma refugee camp followed a Halloween evening with local refugee children.
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Cambodia: unexploded devices found near school
Battambang (Cambodia) November 9, 2011 – More than 100 unexploded devices have been found near a small school in northwestern Cambodia. The weapons included anti-personnel land mines, anti-vehicle weapons and cluster munitions.
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Video: Curtain rises at Jesuit High Sacramento
(Sacramento) November 3, 2011 — The curtain rises tonight on Sacramento Jesuit High School's production Imago Dei: Journeys of Courage, Hope & Home. Jesuit Refugee Service/USA hopes the play will allow audiences to 'stand in the shoes' of forcibly displaced people and refugees to gain a deeper understanding of what life is like for them.
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JHS Sacramento drama about refugees opens this week
(Washington, D.C.) October 31, 2011 — On Thursday Jesuit High School of Sacramento premiers Imago Dei: Journeys of Courage, Hope & Home, about experiences of refugees and the forcibly displaced and based on Jesuit Refugee Service's 30 years of accompaniment, service and advocacy on behalf of refugees.
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JHS Sacramento producing play about refugees
(Washington, D.C.) October 21, 2011 — Students at Jesuit High School of Sacramento have written and will perform a play, Imago Dei: Journeys of Courage, Hope & Home, highlighting the real life experiences of refugees and the forcibly displaced based on Jesuit Refugee Service's 30 years of accompaniment, service and advocacy on behalf of refugees.
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Eastern Africa: technology aids isolated refugees
(Oxford, England) October 20, 2011 — Taking advantage of new computer technologies and improved internet connectivity across Africa, the Jesuit Refugee Service’s initiative Jesuit Commons-Higher Education at the Margins has piloted access to tertiary education in refugee settings, linking university teachers in the U.S. with students in refugee camps in Kenya and Malawi.
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Dallas Jesuit College Prep takes action for refugees
(Washington, D.C.) September 20, 2011 — Jesuit Refugee Service/USA Action Teams are groups of anywhere from three to 100 members that rally around their common concern for refugee and forcibly displaced persons, and their drive to effect positive social change in their local and global neighborhoods.
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JRS assisting refugees from Somalia
(Nairobi, Rome, Washington, D.C.) July 26, 2011 — In the midst of one of the worst humanitarian crises in recent times affecting the Horn of Africa, Jesuit Refugee Service has announced plans to step up ongoing work for Somalis in Ethiopia and Kenya, and establish new services in the former.
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Refugee Protection bill aims to improve immigration and refugee law
(Washington, D.C.) July 5, 2011 — The newly introduced Refugee Protection Act of 2011 makes overdue changes to the Refugee Act of 1980 and U.S. immigration law. JRS/USA has a particular interest in the bill because of our experience offering pastoral care and religious services to immigration detainees. One aspect of the legislation is that facilities detaining immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers provide full and equitable access to religious services to the detainees.
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Nutrition, early education provide head start in Chad
(Goz Beida, Chad) June 28, 2011 — Promoting access to preschool for internally displaced children was the goal when Jesuit Refugee Service started an education project here in eastern Chad in September 2008. JRS manages the preschool project at six sites in this arid region, which directly benefits more than 1700 children who attend the schools.
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Europe: refugee protection — illusion or reality
(Brussels) June 22, 2011 — Since the beginning of the "Arab Spring" and most notably the armed conflict in Libya in mid-February 2011, ten of thousands of persons have tried to escape the escalating violence in North Africa and find protection in Europe. They have often failed. Almost every week, we receive news about a boat carrying refugees having foundered and its occupants drowned.
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JRS urges Europeans states do more to help refugees
(Brussels) June 17, 2011 — Jesuit Refugee Service Europe and other concerned organizations have written to the President of the European Council and heads of state of the European Union urging that Europe do more to help refugees from North Africa.
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Survivors call for U.S. to ban landmines
(Yogyakarta, Indonesia) June 21, 2011 — What are landmines: explosives put into the ground waiting years and decades to indiscriminately take the limbs or life of whoever walks over it, be they a soldier, farmer, woman or child. One step in a contaminated area can trigger the explosion and change lives forever.
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World Refugee Day: The UN Refugee Convention at 60
(Washington, D.C.) June 20, 2011 — Today, on World Refugee Day, we pause to reflect on the significance of the United Nations Convention on the Status of Refugees, which reaches its 60th anniversary this year.
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UN Refugee Convention: 60 years of protection
(Washington, D.C. and Rome) June 17, 2011 — In response to the horrors of World War II, 60 years ago the UN family of nations took the first concrete steps in the construction of a global system of refugee protection. That first step is commemorated Monday, June 20, with World Refugee Day.
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Seattle U honors JRS anti-landmine activist
(Phnom Penh) June 16, 2011 — Tun Channareth works in the northern province of Siem Reap and is himself a landmine survivor. He lost both legs when a landmine exploded in his native Cambodia in 1982. Since then, he has worked tirelessly in the struggle against landmines and cluster bombs which still plague former war-torn countries.
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Helping former child soldiers return to normal in Chad
(Abeche, Chad) June 2, 2011 — In this hot and dusty town in eastern Chad, Jesuit Refugee Service lives its mission of accompaniment by working with former child soldiers to help them return to a normal life after several years of conflict. The program also seeks to prevent any new recruitment of children into fighting units.
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Refugees inspired by soccer in Ethiopia
(Addis Ababa) May 21, 2011 – Although the Jesuit Refugee Service Community Center refugee football team lost the match against university students here recently, they left with a greater understanding of their host society and a desire to further their education.
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JHS Dallas students help refugees
(Washington, D.C.) May 11, 2011 — At Jesuit High School in Dallas, freshmen Brocke Stepteau and Justin Rotich are gearing up to spread the word about refugee issues and support JRS’ mission to accompany, serve, and defend refugees worldwide. Last week the students launched the American/African Outreach Society), an official JRS Action Team, on their school’s campus.
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Marathon effort raises thousands to support refugees
(Washington, D.C) April 25, 2011 — Boston runner John McLaughlin raised almost $6,500 for Jesuit Refugee Service/USA by asking people to donate "a dollar a mile" during his Boston Marathon run on April 18. This is the second time Mr. McLaughlin has run for refugee relief, and JRS/USA is grateful to him and the more than 170 people who donated in his name.
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Catholic University students take action for Sudan
(Washington, D.C.) April 21, 2011 — Inspired by JRS peacebuilding efforts in Southern Sudan, the CUA/JRS Action Team committed to promote awareness of the challenges facing the future country of Southern Sudan and advocate for the U.S. to maintain a strong humanitarian presence in the country.
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Congressional briefing on Colombian refugee crisis
(Washington, D.C.) April 16, 2011 — Congressman James P. McGovern (D-Mass.) hosted a briefing Thursday in the Cannon House Office Building here on the crisis of Colombia refugees in Ecuador, Panama and neighboring countries.
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JRS urges U.S. to stop deporting Haitians
(Washington, D.C) April 15, 2011 — Today the U.S. Department of Homeland Security again deported Haitians from the United States to Haiti, a nation still reeling from the fall-out of a devastating earthquake, endemic cholera, and unable to provide basic necessities for hundreds of thousands of its citizens.
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Dominican Republic forcibly repatriates Haitians
(Santiago, Dominican Republic) April 15, 2011 — Dominican Republic authorities carried out raids, detentions and repatriations of Haitians and persons of Haitian descent during the last week, citing the need to bow to the demands of citizen groups who had demanded the removal of the Haitians.
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Durable solutions sought for North Africa crisis
(Brussels) April 12, 2011 – A group of international NGOs based in the Belgian capital have urged European Union states to respond to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in North Africa.
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Regional response needed for Haitian migrants
(Quito) April 14, 2011 — JRS has issued an appeal urging states in the region to protect Haitian victims of smuggling and trafficking networks in Latin America. In 2009, there were approximately 75,000 Haitians living in South America; but since then this number has increased significantly, particularly in Ecuador and Chile.
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Uganda: new class provides path to self-sufficiency
(Kampala) April 13, 2011 - As part of a new initiative to help urban refugees become more self-reliant, Jesuit Refugee Service has started a new course: training refugees in the production of arts and handicrafts in the Ugandan capital, Kampala.
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Rescue and Refuge: Tribute to Persons of Courage
(Washington, D.C.) April 8, 2011 — Earlier this week U.S. Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton gave remarks during an event at the State Department to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.
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Take Action: Support Peace in Colombia
(Washington, D.C.) April 7, 2011 —  Colombia continues to endure the largest and most protracted humanitarian crisis in the Western Hemisphere, and is home to one of the largest displaced populations in the world. We invite you to join in this work as we call upon our government to promote policies in Colombia that support Colombian refugees and IDPs and other victims of violence, protect human rights defenders and Church and community leader working for peace in Colombia, and contribute to safe, secure and durable land restitution policies.
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Pioneering a new approach to higher ed in Kenya
(Nairobi) April 6, 2011 — The Jesuit Commons — Higher Education at the Margins project offers a dynamic and flexible model of education to refugees, promoting education as a fundamental human right in the most rugged circumstances. In northern Kenya's Kakuma refugee camp, at least 100 refugees are expected to participate in the new program during the first year.
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Bostonian is running marathon for refugees
(Washington, D.C.) April 4, 2011 — John McLaughlin, an employee of Boston College and a parishioner at St. Ignatius Church in Newton, Mass., is running in this year's Boston Marathon to help the work of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA. This marks the second time Mr. McLaughlin has run for refugees.
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International Mine Action Day brings awareness to plight of survivors
(Phnom Penh, Cambodia) April 4, 2011 – While there has been progress to ban the use of landmines around the world, there is still much to be done. On this International Mine Action Day, Jesuit Refugee Service calls on all nations to cease using these weapons and to assist survivors.
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NGOs urge Senate to maintain humanitarian funding
(Washington, D.C.) March 29, 2011 — Thirty-nine non-governmental organizations, including Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, Mercy Corps, World Vision, Save the Children, Lutheran World Relief, the International Rescue Committee, The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society and Amnesty International USA, wrote the U.S. Senate urging them to fund humanitarian programs at current levels.
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Report highlights Colombian refugee crisis
(Washington, D.C.) March 25, 2011 — The Migration Policy Institute and Refugee Council USA (a coalition of NGOs including Jesuit Refugee Service/USA) hosted an event March 23, 2011 in Washington, D.C. hosted an event to launch a report by Refugee Council USA on the situation of Colombian refugees in Ecuador and Panama. Two of the speakers were part of the November 2010 RCUSA trip to the region that examined the complex protection and resettlement needs of Colombian refugees.
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Get Involved: National Days of Action for Colombia
(Washington, D.C.) March 21, 2011 — This April, thousands of people are coming together to advocate for peace and justice in Colombia and take action through the Days of Action for Colombia. Join us as we call on our government to promote policies towards Colombia that support Colombian refugees and IDPs and other victims of violence, protects those working for peace in Colombia, and contributes to fair and durable land restitution policies.
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Catholic University launches JRS/USA Action Team
(Washington, D.C.) March 18, 2011 — Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is pleased to begin working with the first JRS/USA Action Team, a group of talented, hardworking students at Catholic University of America. These students have committed to raising awareness, fundraising, and advocating for the newly formed nation of Southern Sudan in conjunction with JRS/USA.
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Distance education project launched in Kenya
(Nairobi, Kenya) March 15, 2011 — Refugees in Kakuma refugee camp in northwestern Kenya now have access to higher education following the launch by Jesuit Refugee Service of a new distance-education project with U.S. universities. The Jesuit Commons — Higher Education at the Margins project offers a dynamic and flexible model of education to refugees, promoting education as a fundamental human right in the most rugged circumstances.
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Stop deportations to Haiti
(Washington, D.C) March 14, 2011 — Members of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition, including Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, wrote to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office urging them to suspend deportations to Haiti until conditions on the ground improve considerably.
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Colombian Refugees in Ecuador and Panama
(Washington, D.C.) March 10, 2011 — Arguably one of the most persistent — and neglected — humanitarian crises in the Western Hemisphere, Colombia's ongoing conflict has resulted in the targeted persecution and displacement of more than four million Colombians in the last two decades. Learn more March 23rd during an event at the Migration Policy Institute here.
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Women are crucial in post-conflict recovery
(Nairobi) March 8, 2011 – Women contribute greatly towards the recovery of countries emerging from conflict and war. However, these countries could recover faster if women were given more support.
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Days of Prayer and Action for Colombia
(Washington, D.C.) March 6, 2011 — With nearly five million internally displaced people, Colombia is home to the Western Hemisphere’s greatest displacement crisis, and more are losing their homes every day. Join us as we call on our government to promote policies towards Colombia that support Colombian refugees and IDPs and other victims of violence, protects those working for peace in Colombia, and contributes to fair and durable land restitution policies.
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Take Action: Support Life-Saving Aid to Refugees
(Washington, D.C.) March 2, 2011 — Humanitarian programs supported by the U.S. government serve as lifelines for refugees and forcibly displaced persons around the world. They provide critical food aid and shelter for desperate people fleeing the terror of war and persecution in countries such as Colombia, Burma, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
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JRS Malta: evacuate asylum seekers from Libya
(Naxxar, Malta) March 1, 2011 — Jesuit Refugee Service Malta joins the Catholic Church in Libya to plead for an international effort to evacuate and resettle Eritrean asylum-seekers currently stranded in Libya.
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Dominican Republic: Forced removal of Haitians a human rights violation
(Washington, D.C.) February 28, 2011 — Media outlets in the Dominican Republic report that undocumented Haitians were forced out of the Santiago neighborhoods of San José and La Mina in the Dominican Republic Monday morning.
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Outreach program educates students about asylum, immigration
(Washington, D.C.) Feb 23, 2011 — "Wait! I don’t get it!" the young woman towards the back of the classroom exclaimed. "Why don’t people like immigrants? Why are people being treated like this? It’s not fair!" I had just finished explaining to the class of juniors at Cristo Rey High School in New York City how asylum seekers are treated when they come to the U.S. in search of refuge, but lack the papers to enter properly.
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Humanitarian aid cuts could cost lives
(Washington, D.C.) February 23, 2011 — Jesuit Refugee Service/USA and other organizations have sent a letter to the Leadership of the U.S House of Representatives regarding the deep cuts to humanitarian assistance in recent budget proposals. It is shocking to imagine that in the next major global humanitarian crisis – the next Haiti, tsunami, or Darfur – the United States might simply fail to show up. Yet that is the very real risk posed by H.R. 1.
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Briefing on U.S. Migration Policy Toward Haiti
(Washington, D.C.) February 22, 2011 — In a briefing this Thursday on Capitol Hill, experts from Catholic organizations who serve Haitians both in the United States and Haiti will outline the Administration’s current migration policy toward Haitians, discuss current conditions on the ground in Haiti, and identify the immediate migration-related policy steps the U.S. Catholic Church believes the Administration is morally obliged to take to alleviate, and not further deepen, the crisis in Haiti.
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Accompaniment is a vital aspect of JRS' work
(Washington, D.C.) February 18, 2011 — Fr. David Holdcroft, S.J., the Regional Director of Jesuit Refugee Service Southern Africa, discusses the necessity of accompaniment in JRS' work with refugees.
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Southern Sudan: A New Nation
(Juba, Southern Sudan) February 8, 2011 — The people of Southern Sudan have overwhelmingly voted for independence according to the final referendum results announced on Monday in Khartoum. The results show that 98.83 percent voted for secession, which will open the door to Africa’s newest state with formal independence scheduled for July 9, 2011.
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Faith-based groups urge U.S. to stop deporting Haitians
(Washington, D.C.) February 11, 2011 — A coalition of faith-based groups, including Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, today wrote to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano urging the department to cease the deportation of Haitians from the United States back to Haiti.
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Southern Sudan: Training in income generation
(Nimule,Southern Sudan) – Skills of peace club members in income generation and sustainable development are expected to improve after Jesuit Refugee Service trained more than 100 Sudanese on fund raising, management and saving in areas around Nimule, Southern Sudan.
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Join Us in Urging the U.S. to Halt Deportations to Haiti
(Washington, D.C.) January 21, 2011 – Yesterday the Department of Homeland security resumed deporting Haitians from the U.S. back to their troubled country. Haiti is in a severe crisis. More than one million people are without housing, incidences of rape and domestic violence are on the rise, and political violence has escalated. Exacerbating the instability of the current situation is a cholera epidemic that has claimed over 3000 lives and is expected to kill thousands more.
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Haiti: An anniversary in pain
(Port au Prince) January 12, 2011 – One year ago a massive earthquake devastated Haiti, claiming the lives of more than 300,000 people. Today, Haitians mark the first anniversary of the tragedy in pain, caused not only by the sad memory of the victims of the tragedy, but also by the slow pace of recovery and the acute political crisis facing the country.
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Dominican Republic: Mass deportations of Haitians must stop
(Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) January 12, 2011 – Jesuit Refugee Service – Dominican Republic decries the mass deportations carried out in various parts of the Dominican Republic by the Directorate General of Immigration on the grounds that the deportations will prevent cholera. "We understand these actions to be not only ineffective in preventing the progression of the epidemic, but we also recognize that the mass expulsions undermine the rule of law, resulting in the violation of human rights of these Haitian migrants, promoting racial profiling of both the Haitian migrant population and of Dominicans of Haitian descent," JRS – Dominican Republic said in a statement.
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Deporting Haitians into Peril: a Disturbing Policy
(Washington, D.C.) Jan. 7, 2011 – The recent decision by the U.S. government to resume the deportation of Haitians is wrong, and will put lives at risk while creating an additional problem for the maintenance of public order in beleaguered Haiti. Haiti is still struggling to recover from last January's earthquake, is in the midst of a cholera epidemic and is also embroiled in controversy over the recent presidential elections there.
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Take Action: Jesuit Immigration Sign-On Letter
(Washington, D.C.) January 3, 2011 – The Society of Jesus’ work and ministry with immigrants and migrants in the United States has made us painfully aware that many in this community still labor in the shadows. This past June the provincials took the bold step of sending a letter to the president and to each member of Congress asking them to enact comprehensive immigration reform. In order for such reform to be enacted, there needs to be a national demonstration of support.
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Southern Sudan: Archbishop’s visit supports peaceful referendum
(Yei, Southern Sudan) December 21, 2010 — German Archbishop Erwin Josef Ender visited this city to show solidarity with the autonomous region in promoting the 101 Days of Prayer campaign for a peaceful referendum, which will take place on January 9, 2011. Archbishop Ender’s visit on December 8 was symbolic to the people of Sudan, who repeatedly spoke of his coming as a sign that they have the support of the church in their struggle for independence.
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Cambodia: What happened to the Uighur asylum-seekers?
(Bangkok) December 17, 2010 – As the one-year anniversary approaches, Jesuit Refugee Service remembers the Uighur asylum seekers who sought shelter in Cambodia. We came to know them well, and again we ask the question: what happened to them? What happened to the pregnant mother and her two children? What happened to the man who had already escaped years of torture at the hands of the Chinese authorities? What happened to each individual who was trying to start a new life in a safe country?
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Thailand: JRS responds to the influx of people fleeing violence in Burma
(Bangkok) December 16, 2010 – Since Burma’s military-controlled elections last month, people have been fleeing to Thailand to avoid the ensuing violence. While Thai authorities have allowed most to enter the country, the majority at known refugee sites have been told to return to Burma within a matter of days, or in some cases, hours.
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U.S.: Coordination necessary to deal with refugee issues
(Geneva) December 10, 2010 – The United States echoes the call of UNHCR to all states to seize this anniversary year as an opportunity to demonstrate our individual and our common commitment to these important issues.
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Kenya: Distance-learning program provides hope
(Kakuma, Kenya) — Every day Bol, a 26-year old paraplegic man, pedals his hand-powered tricycle an hour each way from his home through Kakuma refugee camp to attend the first introductory training sessions for the new Jesuit Commons Higher Education at the Margins distance-learning accredited university courses.
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Boat people have no 'option but to flee for their lives'
(Sydney, Australia) December 6, 2010 – The Director of Jesuit Refugee Service International, Fr. Peter Balleis S.J, called on Australia to live up to its reputation as a tolerant and multi-cultural nation by showing compassion to boat people, who are ‘the most desperate and poor of all refugees’ during an event in Sydney.
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Landmine Ban Makes Gains, But Serious Concerns Remain
(Geneva) December 3, 2010 – Dozens of countries reported impressive progress in banning antipersonnel mines, clearing mined areas, and assisting victims of the weapon during a week-long meeting of the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty in Geneva, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines said. But four countries remained in violation of the treaty for missing their stockpile destruction deadline, and six countries needed extensions of their clearance deadlines.
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Support the DREAM Act
(Washington, D.C.) November 27, 2010 – The DREAM Act has always had strong bipartisan support, and the U.S. Catholic bishops have been long standing supporters of the legislation. Archbishop Jose Gomez, co-adjutor archbishop of Los Angeles and Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, recently reaffirmed USCCB support for the legislation, stating that passage of the bill was "the right thing to do."
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Mine Ban Treaty: By the Numbers
Last year the Obama administration announced that it was conducting a comprehensive review of its landmine policy, including whether the United States should join the 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, also known as the Mine Ban Treaty. States-parties will meet next week, Nov. 29 to Dec. 3, in Geneva to review the treaty.
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Landmine kills 14 in Cambodia
(Washington, D.C.) November 18, 2010 – “This is a horrific accident,” says Sister Denise Coghlan, country Director of Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in Cambodia, and a founding member of the Cambodia Campaign to Ban Landmines. She says it happened “just at the time when we were hoping the accidents and casualties were going down.”
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Thailand: JRS responds to the influx of people fleeing violence in Burma
(Bangkok) November 11, 2010 – An estimated 20,000 people have fled to Thailand since conflict broke out between government forces and the fifth brigade of the ethnic Karen rebel group, the DKBA. Fighting began November 8 in the southeastern border town of Myawaddy, less than a day after election polls opened in the military controlled region.
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Faith groups urge Obama to protect the rights of migrants
Migrants in our region are experiencing a human rights crisis, particularly those who journey northward through Mexico en route to the United States. In August, 72 migrants from Central and South America were found massacred in northern Mexico. Faith, labor, and human rights groups – including Jesuit Refugee Service/USA – have joined together to urge President Obama to take responsibility in setting a global standard for sound policies to protect the rights of migrants.
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JRS commemorates 30 years of putting refugees first
(Washington, D.C.) – As we mark the 30th anniversary of the founding of Jesuit Refugee Service by Fr. General Pedro Arrupe, S.J., the reality of our modern world is quite sobering. There are tens of millions more refugees, internally displaced people, and asylum seekers today than there were in 1980.
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Floods, cholera continue to disrupt Haitian rebuilding
(Port au Prince, Haiti) November 9, 2010 – The Jesuit Refugee Service facility in Ounaminthe, which ordinarily can house up to 50 people, brought in 50 additional mattresses to attempt to serve the more than 150 people a day who sought shelter. Additionally, JRS teams are providing food and first aid to those in need, especially women and infants.
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JRS Australia opens home for refugees
(Sydney, Australia) November 9, 2010 – For the first time ever, Jesuit Refugee Service Australia will be able to accommodate entire refugee families after opening its latest shelter, a former boarding house in the Sydney beachside suburb of Manly.
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Video: Detention Chaplaincy
(Washington, D.C.) November 3, 2010 – Jesuit Refugee Service/USA promotes courage, hope and peace for detainees in the ups and downs and day-to-day routines of their lives inside a detention facility. In addition to pastoral counseling, chaplains facilitate religious activities that include opportunities for worship, prayer, scripture services, and fellowship within the traditions of each person’s faith. JRS/USA’s chaplains and pastoral care workers give support to those who find themselves suffering and in crisis.
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Haiti moves from emergency to emergency
(Port au Prince, Haiti) Nov. 2, 2010 – As of last Wednesday, the Haitian health ministry has confirmed 4,649 hospitalizations and 305 deaths due to cholera, with cases having been confirmed in three of the country’s 10 departments – Artibonite, Central and North.
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New obstacles in Haiti
(Port au Prince) Oct. 26, 2010 – A month before elections for a new president and legislature scheduled for Haiti on November 28, an epidemic of cholera has again focused world attention on Haiti. The disease has killed more than 259 people and sickened another 3300, according to health authorities. Meanwhile, a fault line remains an important seismic hazard for Haiti, say experts.
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Sudan: Teachers updated on new curriculum
Participants were told how the implementation of the curriculum depended on their relationships with the key actors involved in the process: students, teachers, parents, school management (parent-teacher associations), communities, and local and central government officials.
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The Society of Jesus and Migration
(Quito, Ecuador) October 11, 2010 – The challenges posed by migration are an apostolic priority for the universal body of the Society of Jesus. Since this phenomenon is increasingly globalized, it requires a response that is also networked at the worldwide level.
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Video: Building schools in Southern Sudan
(Washington, D.C.) October 10, 2010 – Jesuit Refugee Service has assisted returnees by building schools, supporting teacher training, providing school supplies, encouraging the education of girls, and building the capacity of local communities to take charge of their own educational needs.
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Official highlights U.S. efforts on behalf of refugees
(Geneva, Switzerland) October 4, 2010 – Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) Eric P. Schwartz delivered the U.S. government’s plenary statement Monday, October 4, 2010, at the 61st session of the UNHCR Executive Committee in Geneva. Jesuit Refugee Service/USA has used grants from PRM to build and equip schools and train teachers in Southern Sudan.
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Welcome to Our New Website
(Washington, D.C.) Oct. 1, 2010 – After nearly 12 months of planning and work, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is happy to announce the launch of our new website.This new website is designed to present information in a clear way with easy navigation, while highlighting the accompaniment, service and advocacy JRS undertakes worldwide with and on behalf of refugees and forcibly displaced people.
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Powerful storm strikes Haiti
(Port-au-Prince, Haiti) September 26, 2010 – A powerful tropical storm battered the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince on September 24, destroying and damaging many of the tents inhabited by the 1.2 million people displaced by the January earthquake who have lived in ad-hoc camps for the last nine months. The Jesuit Refugee Service team responded immediately, deploying our limited resources to address the most urgent needs.
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South Africa take positive steps for Zimbabwe refugees
Jesuit Refugee Service has given a cautious welcome to the introduction of new regulations affecting Zimbabweans in South Africa. The new regulations stipulate that Zimbabweans, present in the country before 31 May 2010, may be eligible for a four-year work, business or study permit, if they are in possession of a current Zimbabwean passport and meet other qualifying criteria.
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South Africa moves to end 'Special Dispensation' for Zimbabwe refugees
Jesuit Refugee Service notes that the Cabinet of South Africa has moved to end the Special Dispensation for Zimbabwean Nationals that was introduced in April 2009. The Special Dispensation allowed Zimbabweans crossing into South Africa the right to live, work, attend education facilities and access basic health care for a period of six months.
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Peace week in Colombia
Next week the Catholic Church in Colombia is celebrating Peace Week in honor of  the thousands of victims of the Colombian conflict. The theme of the week is 'Integral Reparation: because no victim is a stranger.' The aim of the annual Peace Week campaign is to raise awareness in Colombian society for the plight of the victims of the armed conflict and to promote solidarity and a comprehensive reparation plan for them.
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Haitians deported by Dominican Republic
More than fifty people were repatriated to Haiti from Dominican Republic to Haiti on Wednesday in an operation carried out in the city of Jimaní, on the Haitian – Dominican Republic border. Representatives of Jesuit Refugee Service in Jimaní tried to interview the detained Haitians but they were deported before JRS was able to speak to them.
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World Humanitarian Day 2010
The United Nations has designated August 19 as World Humanitarian Day to honor all humanitarian aid workers, United Nations and associated people who have lost their lives in the cause of duty, and those who have worked in the promotion of the humanitarian cause. Humanitarian aid workers strive to ensure that all those who have experienced a traumatic event and need life-saving assistance receive it, regardless of where they are in the world, and regardless of their religious or social group or nationality. These workers should be respected and helped, not targeted.
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Southern Sudan at a Crossroads
In January, Southern Sudan will hold a referendum to choose independence from or unity with the north. The conduct, result, and aftermath of the vote will determine the direction of Southern Sudan's future and the prospects for sustained peace in the region. During this uncertain period, JRS continues to accompany the people of Southern Sudan with programs that make schools the heart of new and restored communities, as focal points for hope for a better future and centers for peace building activities.
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On Assignment in Burundi
JRS projects in the forgotten backcountry of Burundi aim at responding to the all-important larger issue of ensuring lasting food security for returning refugees. Father Tony Calleja, S.J., the Regional Director of JRS Great Lakes, has had long experience with Burundian refugees, having spent years working with them in Tanzanian camps. He poignantly described the plight of these returnees: “When they come back, it is a joyful occasion. But they come back with nothing. They have nothing.”
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Haitian Jesuits plan for future, urge that local voices be heard
Jesuits in Haiti, under the leadership of Fr. Kawas Francois, S.J. have organized a Reflection and Action Unit (see official statement below) to help plan for the long-term rebuilding of Haiti while ensuring that the voices of the Haitian people are involved in that planning. Concerns have been raised on the ground in Haiti that too much of the planning leadership has been from concerned foreigners, and not enough from the people of Haiti and their leaders in civil society.
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Jesuit Father General visits Haiti
Father General Adolfo Nicolas, S.J. visited the Haitian capital Thursday to see the work Jesuits have been doing to as they accompany and serve the people of Haiti in the aftermath of the devastating January 12 earthquake.
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Faith and Joy in Haiti
Video: Fr. Dorino Gabriel, S.J. talks about the work of Faith and Joy in helping to rebuild and revitalize Haiti. Through the Jesuit Fe y Alegria school system Haitian Jesuits are working to promote universal education in Haiti, a key necessity in helping to build a resilient and sustainable Haitian-led recovery.
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President Obama Urged to Sign Mine Ban Treaty
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) March 23, 2010 - Leaders from 65 nongovernmental organizations delivered a letter to President Obama Monday urging the U.S. to relinquish antipersonnel landmines and join the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty without delay.
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Changes Takes Faith: People Call for Immigration Reform
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) March 23, 2010 - Tens of thousands of demonstrators rallied on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, urging Congress and the President to pass a Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill this year.
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Jesuit Superior meets JRS staff after recent visit to Sri Lanka
(ROME) March 11, 2010 - Fr. Adolfo Nicolas S.J., Father General of the Society of Jesus, visited the Province of Sri Lanka last month. While visiting the region of Colombo-Galle, Father Nicolás stressed several themes particularly dear to him: depth of commitment, creativity and life in the Spirit, and inserting these into the specific reality of Jesuits in Sri Lanka today.
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Missing UN-African Union soldiers make safe return thanks to Darfurians
Two peacekeepers who were missing after an attack on an African Union-United Nations patrol in Darfur have made a safe return with the assistance of the local population, the joint mission reported yesterday. They were found suffering from dehydration but were listed as in stable condition after receiving appropriate medical attention, according to a news release issued by the mission, known as UNAMID.
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JRS plans for long-term Haitian relief
(Washington, D.C.) February 20, 2010 – In the days following the January 12 earthquake in Haiti, Jesuit Refugee Service was able to provide emergency food relief to about 50,000 people, while JRS-affiliated medical teams treated about 4,500 people who were injured in the quake or became ill in the aftermath.
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Cluster Bomb Ban treaty to take effect
(Washington, D.C.) Feb. 18, 2010 – The United Nations–backed convention banning the use of cluster munitions will enter into force in August after the 30th country ratified the pact Tuesday, a move that was immediately welcomed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as “a major advance on the global disarmament agenda.”
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Accompaniment at core of JRS/USA mission
(Washington, D.C.) Feb 16, 2010 - The National Director of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, Fr. Ken Gavin, S.J., was on Talk of the Nation Monday to discuss his recent trip to Haiti.
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Rebuilding of Haiti must be inclusive and decentralized
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) Feb. 11, 2010 – "Haiti demands a reconstruction rooted in decentralization, diversification and specialization," said Fr. Regino Martinez, S.J. on Tuesday. Fr. Martinez, the Director of Solidaridad Fronteriza in the border town of Dajabon in the Dominican Republic, has been leading a relief effort in Ouanaminte and Cap Haitien and other towns.
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Immigration Reform is a matter of Faith and Family
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) Feb. 11, 2010 – In an unprecedented show of religious support for just, humane, comprehensive immigration reform, religious leaders from across the theological and ideological spectrum and Members of Congress kicked off a nationwide mobilization for immigration reform Wednesday on a conference call with reporters.
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Haiti: relief efforts look to future
By Fr. Kenneth J. Gavin, S.J. National Director of JRS/USA (Port-au-Prince, Haiti) Feb. 5, 2010 – We arrived in Port-au-Prince Wednesday afternoon, traveling by car from Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic through Baharona, where Jesuit Refugee & Migrant Service has a warehouse for food and supplies. Trucks leave for Haiti daily, crossing the border at Jimani and then on to one of the 12 distribution centers staffed by Jesuit teams.
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Georgetown University Forum on Haiti
(Washington, D.C.) Feb. 4, 2010 - Shaina Aber, Associate Advocacy Director for Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, was a panelist at Georgetown University's Forum on Haiti: From Relief to Recovery on Jan. 28. Panelists discussed the current crisis in Haiti, including relief and recovery efforts going forward and the role of the international community in providing aid and assistance. Representatives of the University, the World Food Progamme, the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization also took part.
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Haiti relief donations qualify for tax deduction
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — People who give to charities providing earthquake relief in Haiti can claim these donations on the tax return they are completing this season, according to the Internal Revenue Service.
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Haitians demonstrate solidarity in wake of disaster
(Washington, D.C.) Jan. 28, 2010 – The United Nations says that the earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12 has killed at least 112,000 people, and injured 194,000. Other estimates suggest that 200,000 people were killed, and an accurate number may never be known. More than one million Haitians are now homeless.
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Haiti: information resources for relief and TPS
Requesting Waiver of Fees for TPS Applicants (Washington, D.C.) Jan 28, 2010 – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has released a fact sheet on the process of requesting a waiver of fees for applicants seeking Temporary Protected Status. Download a PDF of the fact sheet here.
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Conditions in Haiti difficult, spirits of Haitians unbowed
(Washington, D.C.) Jan. 25, 2010 - "We are still seeing seriously wounded people who have yet to see a doctor. We are seeing tent cities that have thousands of people living in a crowded space with no water, food, or sanitary conditions," writes Br. Jim Boynton, S.J. from Port-au-Prince.
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107 people have died in immigrant detention centers
(Washington, D.C.) Jan. 25, 2010 - Through a Freedom of Information Act request, the American Immigration Lawyers Association obtained a list of the 107 immigrant detainees who died in Immigration & Customs Enforcement custody from October 2003 to the present. The most frequent cause of death was "illness."
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Temporary Protection for Haitians: A First Step
An op-ed from Jesuit Refugee Service/USA published by New America Media on Jan. 21, 2010.
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Haiti emergency relief efforts continue, with an eye to the future
(Washington, D.C.) Jan. 23, 2010 – “We are not yet out of the emergency phase of responding to the most basic needs, that is: water, food, and medical services,” Sonia Adames told JRS/USA Friday about JRS disaster relief efforts in Haiti. Adames, director of the Jesuit Refugee Service Santo Domingo office in the Dominican Republic, added that JRS is analyzing the situation to predict future needs while concurrently responding to immediate needs.
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JRS providing food, medical aid to Haitians in need
(Washington, D.C.) Jan. 22, 2010 – Jesuit Refugee Service has become a leader in providing emergency food and medical aid to the suffering people of Haiti.
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JRS serves 16,000 people suffering from Haitian earthquake
(Washington, D.C.) Jan. 21, 2010 – Jesuit Refugee Service has provided emergency relief in the form of food, medicine, tents and debris-removal tools to about 16,000 citizens of Port-au-Prince to aid their recovery from last week’s devastating earthquake. Additionally, in coordinated efforts with partner organizations in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, JRS has set up several locations throughout the countries to deliver aid to more people suffering from the effects of the earthquake in an efficient and organized manner.
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Voices from Haiti
(Washington, D.C) Jan. 14, 2010 - Two days after the powerful earthquake brought more devastation to the island of Haiti, eyewitness accounts from aid workers, Jesuits and others in the country are being shared.
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Urgent appeal for the people of Haiti
(Washington, D.C.) Jan. 14, 2010 - In response to Tuesday’s devastating earthquake in Haiti, Jesuit Refugee Service is mounting an emergency relief effort to provide lifesaving aid, including food and other urgently needed items, to the Haitian people. Aid will be provided in partnership with the JRS - Latin America & Caribbean regional office, and distributed through JRS programs in the Dominican Republic, Jesuit parishes and other Jesuit programs in Haiti.
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Major catastrophe shakes Haiti
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) Jan. 12, 2010 - A major earthquake centered 10 miles southwest of the capital city Port-au-Prince shook the country of Haiti Tuesday afternoon, causing extensive damage and unleashing more devastation on the Western Hemisphere's poorest country. It struck at 4:53 p.m., followed by several strong aftershocks.
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Bishops support immigration reform
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan. 8, 2010) —The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) announced steps to push for the enactment of immigration reform legislation in 2010. Bishop John C. Wester, bishop of Salt Lake City, Utah, and chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, and Bishop Howard J. Hubbard, bishop of Albany, New York, and chairman of the International Policy Committee of the USCCB, made the announcement earlier this week.
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Kino Border Initiative inspires student project
Washington, D.C. (Dec. 21, 2009) – Kristina Stevens shares her impressions of the Kino Border Initiative in words and music in a new video. Kristina, who just graduated from the University of Arizona with a B.A. in Journalism, visited the KBI in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico each Saturday from the end of September through November. Kristina worked with classmate Christopher Kelly to create a story for BorderBeat.net, a student-run publication based in the University of Arizona School of Journalism.
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Renewing Hope, Seeking Justice
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 15, 2009) – Jesuit Refugee Service/USA welcomes the introduction today of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America's Security and Prosperity Act of 2009 (CIR ASAP) as a first step in providing a solution to fix our broken immigration system. Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) introduced the bill, with 87 co-sponsors including members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Black Caucus, Asian Pacific American Caucus, and Progressive Caucus.
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Reforming the detention system
Washington, D.C. (Dec. 11, 2009) – Donald M. Kerwin, Jr., Vice President for Programs at the Migration Policy Institute and a Board Member of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA addressed a hearing yesterday on “Moving Toward More Effective Immigration Detention Management,” held by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security's Subcommittee on Border, Maritime, and Global Counterterrorism. While praising the recent decisions by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement for recent reforms, Mr. Kerwin provided clear goals for ICE as the reform process goes forward.
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Road map to a mine-free world
Washington, D.C. (Dec. 7, 2009) – More than 1000 activists, survivors and government delegates celebrated the close of the Cartagena Summit on a Mine-Free World last week with the announcement that four new countries - Albania, Greece, Rwanda and Zambia - are now mine-free. The Summit closed with more than 120 governments adopting the Cartagena Action Plan, a detailed five-year plan of commitments on all areas of mine action including victim assistance, mine clearance, risk education, stockpile destruction and international cooperation.
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Crisis at our Borders: The Human Reality Behind the Immigration Debate
Bishop Gerald Kicanas of the Diocese of Tucson, and also Vice President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, spoke at the Crisis at our Borders: The Human Reality Behind the Immigration Debate conference in October. Bishop Kicanas spoke during the first panel, which covered the theme of Human Rights/Human Dignity – Understanding the Need for Immigration Reform from a Border Perspective.
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U.S. NGOs to attend UNHCR Dialogue on Protection
U.S. NGO Comments on UNHCR Policy on Refugees in Urban Settings in Preparation for the UNHCR High Commissioner’s Dialogue on Protection
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Refugee Protection and Solutions in Urban Areas
(Washington, D.C.) – In letters to the U.S. State Department and to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA has joined our partners to share the views of InterAction’s Humanitarian Partnerships Working Group and Refugee Council USA’s Protection Committee on key issues ahead of next week’s High Commissioner’s Dialogue on Protection.
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Overcoming Barriers: Human Mobility & Development
(Bangkok) – Allowing for migration, both within and between countries, has the potential to increase people’s freedom and improve the lives of millions around the world, according to the 2009 Human Development Report released by the UNDP. We live in a highly mobile world, where migration is not only inevitable but also an important dimension of human development. Nearly one billion — or one out of seven — people are migrants. The Report, Overcoming barriers: Human mobility and development, demonstrates that migration can enhance human development for the people who move, for the communities they move to and for those who remain at home. 
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Cartagena Summit on a Mine-free World
(Cartagena, Colombia) November 30, 2009 – More than 1,000 activists, survivors, mine action practitioners, development experts and government representatives from around the world are here this week for the Cartagena Summit on a Mine-Free World, including dozens of high-level government representatives and dignitaries. The Cartagena Summit, running from November 29th through December 4th, is the second five-year Review Conference of the Mine Ban Treaty, and is aimed at evaluating progress made and identifying actions required to fully realize the vision of a mine-free world.
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Refugee Council USA supports Colombian refugees and IDPs
Jesuit Refugee Service/USA and other members of Refugee Council USA applaud steps the U.S. government is taking to provide for the assistance needs of Colombian refugees and internally displaced persons, and urge greater U.S. support of Colombian resettlement efforts.
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Crisis at our Borders: The Human Reality Behind the Immigration Debate
Washington, D.C. - A one-day conference aimed primarily at students from Georgetown University, this event seeks to educate and inspire students to greater knowledge, commitment, and action for immigration reform.
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JRS-sponsored students graduate
(Kakuma, Kenya) Oct. 24, 2009 – Twelve JRS–sponsored refugee students from Burundi, Sudan, Ethiopia and Rwanda obtained their degrees at Kakuma refugee camp in northwestern Kenya today. Three students who participated in the distance education program with the University of South Africa (UNISA) obtained their Bachelor of Art in communications and sociology after nine years of studies, while nine students of the Kenya Institute of Social Work and Community Development (KISWCD) received their diploma certificates in community health and community development after two years of studies.
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Man on Fire: The Legacy of Pedro Arrupe
The Graduate School of Social Work and the Center for Human Rights and International Justice recently welcomed to Boston College Man on Fire, an exhibit of images and words honoring the legacy of Father Pedro Arrupe, the founder of Jesuit Refugee Service.
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Magazines highlight Jesuit Refugee Service works
Two magazines highlight the works of Jesuit Refugee Service: Jesuit Journeys (Fall 2009 issue) and Creighton University Magazine (summer issue).
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Preserving Religious Freedom and Human Dignity in Immigrant Detention
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Assistant Secretary John Morton announced several changes designed to improve conditions and oversight for undocumented migrants who are detained in the federal detention system yesterday. The changes are based on the Immigration Detention Overview and Recommendations report simultaneously released. The report was written by Dr. Dora Schriro, most recently the Director of the Office of Detention Policy and Planning.
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DHS announces new immigration detention reform initiatives
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Assistant Secretary John Morton announced new initiatives Tuesday, Oct. 6, as part of the Department’s ongoing immigration detention reform efforts. “These new initiatives will improve accountability and safety in our detention facilities as we continue to engage in smart and effective enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws,” said Napolitano.
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Vatican Stresses 'Tragic Plight' of Refugees
“Around the globe, we observe that the tragic plight of forcibly uprooted people continues to weigh on the conscience of the human family. To a great degree, the international community seems to lack the will or ability to effectively address the suffering and vulnerability of such persons.” Speaking to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva on Sept. 29, Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, Permanent Observer of the Holy See, condemned the deterioration of adherence of the principle of non-refoulement by European states and appealed for international collaboration and co-responsibility in order to deal with asylum requests fairly.
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Late Senator Honored for Lifetime of Work with Refugees
The United Nations refugee agency announced Tuesday that its Nansen Refugee Award will go to the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), for his achievements as an unparalleled champion of refugee protection and assistance for more than 45 years.
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Cuts in Southern Sudanese education budget put progress at risk
During the last three years, the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) has slashed its education budget by more than 25 percent, from $134 million to $100 million. This is particularly disappointing given the remarkable improvements in enrolment rates since the 2005 peace agreement. Budget cuts of this magnitude are likely to adversely affect the quality of education services. With literacy rates at 20 percent, and 10 percent among women, much remains to be done.
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Torn from Home: My Life as a Refugee
A traveling exhibit on the world’s refugees takes school-age children and visitors of all ages on an inspiring, hands-on journey into the extraordinary lives of millions of children who were forced to flee their homes in conflict regions throughout the world. The exhibit, “Torn from Home: My Life as a Refugee,” gives young visitors and others an opportunity to gain a firsthand look into the often challenging realities faced by refugee children and their families, and yet experience the personal triumphs of rebuilding their lives in a new land. It showcases six exhibit areas: Home, Losing Home, Registration, Refugee Camp, Medical Clinic and Going Home.
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White House hosts meeting to discuss Comprehensive Immigration Reform
President Barack Obama told attendees during a meeting at the White House on Comprehensive Immigration Reform Thursday that, "Immigration is a problem that is begging to be fixed." Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), hosted the meeting of 130 immigration advocates, business, labor and law enforcement representatives.
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JRS opens first permanent primary school building in Lobone
On August 5th, 2009, Jesuit Refugee Service inaugurated the first primary school with permanent buildings in Lobone, Southern Sudan.
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Cluster Bomb Ban on Track to Become International Law Soon
The international treaty banning cluster bombs has passed the half-way milestone to the 30 ratifications needed for it to become binding international law. The United Nations confirmed Aug. 19, that Croatia became the fifteenth country to ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions by depositing its legal instrument at UN Headquarters in New York on Monday.
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'Never Again' Campaigners Call on Users to Sign Treaty Banning Cluster Bombs
Israel, Georgia and Russia were urged Aug. 12 to join the global ban on cluster bombs as members of the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) held events and activities throughout the world to remember the victims of cluster bomb strikes by those countries. The weapon was used last August in the conflict between Russia and Georgia and three years ago by Israel in southern Lebanon (and to a lesser extent by Hezbollah in northern Israel.) 
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U.S. announces change in policy for immigrant detention
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Assistant Secretary John Morton announced Thursday that ICE is undertaking a major overhaul of the agency's immigration detention system. "This change marks an important step in our ongoing efforts to enforce immigration laws smartly and effectively," said Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. "We are improving detention center management to prioritize health, safety and uniformity among our facilities while ensuring security, efficiency and fiscal responsibility."
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UNHCR says urgent aid needed in Kenya
The United Nations refugee chief has appealed for a massive injection of funds to help residents in Kenya’s sprawling and overcrowded Dadaab complex, which he described as “the most difficult camp situation in the world.” Located 90 kilometers from the border with Somalia, the three camps at Dadaab were built to house 90,000 people, but today are home to more than three times that number, mostly Somalis.
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Groups claim U.S. detention system systematically violates immigrant detainee' rights
Denied access to loved ones, lawyers and basic necessities, men and women within the nation’s immigration detention system find their fundamental rights routinely and systematically violated, according to a report released this week by the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), the ACLU of Southern California, and the international law firm of Holland & Knight, LLP. The first nationwide comprehensive report of its kind, “A Broken System: Confidential Reports Reveal Failures in U.S. Detention Centers,” sheds new light on the conditions suffered by hundreds of thousands of people housed in detention centers around the country, and offers policymakers specific recommendations to ameliorate the situation.
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Ocean Tragedy Underscores Need for Haitian TPS
Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Vice Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, a senior member of the House Rules Committee, and Co-Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, made the following statement on the deadly capsizing of a boat off the coast of the Turks and Caicos thought to be carrying nearly 200 Haitian migrants. “This tragedy is a sad reminder of the hopelessness and desperation facing the Haitian people,” said Hastings. “Nearly one year ago, Haiti suffered damage equivalent to 8-10 hurricane Katrinas hitting the United States in one month alone, and since that time, the current economic crisis has practically dried up the remittances on which so many Haitian families rely. With hurricane season upon us once again, it is immoral and irresponsible to continue to deny Haitians Temporary Protected Status.
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Lawmakers ask President to grant Temporary Protected Status to Haitians
Sen. Bill Nelson (D. - FLA) and Rep. Charles Rangel (D.-NY) each wrote letters to President Obama in recent days asking that he grant Temporary Protected Status to Haitians in the U.S. In December of 2008, the United States began forcibly deporting 30,000 Haitians back to their country, a country ravaged by consecutive natural disasters last September. The two hurricanes and two tropical storms that hit Haiti in devastating succession during harvest season last year killed nearly 1,000 people and left 800,000 of the country’s residents in need of emergency humanitarian assistance. The storms destroyed at least $180 million in crops, exacerbating an existing food shortage.
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Refugees: Between Hope and Fear
Panama's daily newspaper Prensa recently published an article entitled “Refugees: Between Hope and Fear,” detailing the complex struggles of Colombians living as refugees in Panama. Among the challenges reported are widespread public prejudices against refugees, burdensome requirements in the acquisition of refugee status, restrictions on movement for unrecognized Colombian refugees living in border regions, and inadequate legal protections and support for those with official refugee status.
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IRC Seeks Overhaul of Resettlement System for Iraqi Refugees
In a new report, “Iraqi Refugees in the United States: In Dire Straits,” the International Rescue Committee’s Commission on Iraqi Refugees says resettlement continues to be a critical and lifesaving intervention for thousands of at-risk Iraqi refugees who are living in precarious conditions in exile and unable to return home safely. But, the federal program no longer meets the basic needs of today’s newly arriving refugees and requires urgent reform.
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Ecuador Streamlines Refugee Registration Process
The Enhanced Registration Initiative was created by the government of Ecuador in coordination with UNHCR in response to a) the large number of refugees living in the shadows along the northern border as a result of the absence of state entities or response teams in the area; and b) the inefficacy of the current system for determining refugee status. The purpose of this initiative is a) the implementation along the northern border of a more efficient system of interviewing refugees and adjudicating refugee applications; b) the extension of access to registration previously unreached by the General Directorate of Refugees (DGR); and c) a heightened focus on those situational challenges arising from the ongoing internal conflict in Colombia.
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Welcome the Stranger
On June 20 – World Refugee Day – Americans join with others around the world in remembering the needs of displaced people, noting their challenges, recognizing their struggles and triumphs, and celebrating the contribution that refugees continue to make to their adoptive homelands.
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Urgent Appeal: Displaced Sri Lankans require food, shelter, medical assistance
Since the end of fighting in Sri Lanka on May 19, more than 260,000 displaced persons remain in camps in the northern part of this island country. Tens of thousands are in need of medical attention, due to the effects of starvation, exposure, illness and injury sustained during the fighting. JRS in Sri Lanka reports an urgent need for temporary shelter, food, clean water and basic medical supplies in Vavuniya, Mannar, Jaffna and other locations. Since January 2009, JRS has been providing and distributing cooked food, dry rations, and non-food items including clothing; and attending to the sick, pregnant women and new mothers, and the elderly. JRS is also assisting with education and school supplies.
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DETENTION OF REFUGEES, ASYLUM SEEKERS & MIGRANTS
On this, the 10th anniversary of the UNHCR Revised Guidelines on Applicable Criteria and Standards Relating to the Detention of Asylum Seekers, the Guidelines remain a valuable tool and the primary international mechanism available for States to determine appropriate minimum standards for the detention of asylum seekers.
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Discovering Self-Esteem As A Tool For Personal Development
At the end of April, the JRS Refugee Community Center (RCC) organized a three-day workshop on self-esteem for 22 language and computer students and four teachers. The workshop aimed at renewing hope and showing new directions for the lives of refugees by drawing attention to the principles of self-esteem like sense of competence, the importance of taking control of one’s life, tolerance, self-acceptance, positive thinking and self-motivation.
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United Nations concerned at threats against partners in Colombia
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Colombia Friday (May 22) expressed its deep concern over a spate of death threats made against human rights workers, including uprooted people defending their communities’ rights.
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Top UN refugee official calls for meeting on Mediterranean irregular migration
The top United Nations refugee official, António Guterres, has urged the European Commission (EC) to convene a gathering bringing together Italy, Malta, Libya, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and others to create a joint response to irregular migration across the Mediterranean Sea.
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Press statement issued by the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers
Children (under-18s) are being abducted from refugee camps and from Vavuniya town in northern Sri Lanka by paramilitary groups who enjoy tacit support from the Sri Lankan government, the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers said today.
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Respecting Strangers: Replacing Fear with Welcome
Jesuit Refugee Service and Loyola University Chicago's John Felice Rome Center opened a photography exhibition in Rome dedicated to the dignity of people who continue to struggle for a better future.
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Town Struggles One Year After Immigration Raid
To commemorate the first anniversary of the Postville, Iowa, immigration worksite enforcement action, Bishop John C. Wester, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration released a statement recalling the humanitarian cost of such actions and calling, once again, for the reform of our nation immigration policies.
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Seeking Dignity for Haitians
Haitians currently living in the Dominican Republic – Haiti’s neighbor on the island of Hispaniola – find themselves under increasing pressure as a debate heats up in the Dominican Republic government and among the general population over the rights of immigrants.
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Human Rights Council Urged to Act on Sri Lanka
Ninety non-governmental organizations across the globe call upon the UN Human Rights Council to hold a Special Session on the current human rights catastrophe in Sri Lanka, as a matter of urgent concern. They have observed the lack of an adequate response from the Council so far, and herewith repeat their heartfelt appeal to the Council to live up to its own mandate by responding promptly to human rights emergencies.
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U.N. launches $50 million appeal for Sri Lanka relief efforts
The United Nations and Government of Sri Lanka Tuesday announced the launch of a $50 million appeal to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of the rising number of desperate civilians fleeing the fighting in the north between the army and Tamil separatist rebels.
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Don't Keep the Nuns Waiting
Sister of Mercy Pat Murphy just celebrated her 80th Birthday but she is not slowing down. For more than two years she and Sister Jo Ann Persch, RSM, 74, have prayed the rosary every Friday morning at 7:15 a.m. in front of the Broadview Federal Immigrant Detention Center. They pray outside because ICE will not let them pray inside with the detainees. More than 11,000 immigrants have been deported from this facility in the past year.
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Caritas Director Severely injured in Sri Lanka
Rev. Fr. T.R. Vasanthaseelan, the local director of Caritas in Sri Lanka's war-torn Vanni region, was severely injured in the ongoing fighting between government troops and rebel Tamil Tiger (LTTE) forces.
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Refugee Crisis Simmers in Ecuador
The Center for International Policy says that over the past nine years, an estimated 300,000 Colombian refugees have crossed their country’s border with Ecuador, fleeing persecution, threats, disappearances, murders and deliberate displacement by the parties to Colombia’s long conflict.
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Neighbor to Neighbor
Between April 6-17 faith communities throughout the United States will be conducting Neighbor to Neighbor visits with their members of Congress while they are at home in their districts on Congressional Recess.
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Days of Prayer and Action for Colombia
Communities throughout Colombia are saying "NO" to the violent conflict, and "YES" to creating a lasting peace for all Colombians.
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Sudanese Refugees Return to Homeland
The Acholi people are indigenous to Lobone. But, because of the civil war between the Sudan government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, thousands of people fled their homes, with many going to refugee camps in Uganda.
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Haitians need Temporary Protected Status
Jesuit Refugee Service provides humanitarian assistance to Haitian refugees and migrants dwelling along the Haitian border with the Dominican Republic. Our field office in Ouanaminthe, Haiti has seen the effects of both the food crisis and the storms in the last year . Haitian society is fragile and the U.S. plan to deport 30,000 Haitians to the storm ravaged nation represents a grave security and humanitarian concern.
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Urge the Senate to Give Cluster Bombs the Boot!
When nearly 100 nations — including Britain, France, and Germany — gathered in early December to sign a global treaty banning cluster bombs, the U.S. was conspicuously absent. These weapons always end up killing more civilians than soldiers. President Obama and Congress can fix U.S. policy. In fact, they have already started. In March, Congress passed a law permanently banning exports of nearly all U.S.-made cluster bombs. Now we need Congress to act to prevent any further use by the United States.
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Canisius College students ‘Spring Break’ for immigration reform
Several students from Canisius College visited Washington, D.C. as an "Alternative Spring Break.” The eight students, accompanied by a campus minister, spent March 13 to March 15 at the Ignatian Solidarity Network’s Spring Teach-In on Immigration at Georgetown Prep, and then lobbied for comprehensive immigration reform in the U.S. Capitol on March 16.
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Boston Man Raises Awareness of Refugees with Marathon Effort
John McLaughlin, an employee of Boston College and a parishioner at St. Ignatius Church in Newton, Mass., is running in this year's Boston Marathon to help the work of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA.
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Mission Possible: A Mine-Free World
Sunday, March 1, 2009, is the 10th anniversary of the historic treaty banning antipersonnel mines becoming binding international law. The Mine Ban Treaty obligates its participants to comprehensively discontinue the use, production, stockpile, and transfer of antipersonnel landmines; to destroy stockpiles within four years; to clear mines within their own territories within ten years, and to provide continuing assistance to mine survivors.
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JRS/USA Thanks Congressman for Haiti Support
On behalf of a diverse coalition of 25 human rights, refugee advocacy, faith-based and humanitarian organizations, Robert J. Carey, Chair of Refugee Council USA, writes to thank Rep. Hastings and express their support for his legislation addressing the need to designate the country of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
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Refugee Council USA writes to Janet Napolitano to designate Haiti for TPS
Refugee Council USA, a coalition of 25 organizations including Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, has written to Janet Napolitano, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, asking that the nation of Haiti being designated for Temporary Protected Status.
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100,000-plus Citizen Children Find Parents Deported
Congressman José E. Serrano released a study today showing that the Department of Homeland Security has deported more than 100,000 parents of children who are U.S. citizens. The report, which Serrano asked DHS to produce, also showed that this number could be higher if records were more complete.
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HOLY SEE ADDRESS ON SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, addresses the U.N. Economic and Social Council on Feb 5, 2009.
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The struggle to be Human Again
A better life is not something I just want. It is something I struggle for. I wish I had an easy answer to my life’s struggles but I don’t. I am also very skeptical of any one who claims to. This often stretches me to the limit. Living in this state of uncertainty may continue probably for some time yet I have to learn to love these struggles and live my life again. The important thing is that I still have a responsibility, a choice and the initiative to decide how I want to live the rest of my life.
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Foreign Aid Reform: Principles for United States Humanitarian Assistance Endorsed by 27 U.S.-based NGOs
Humanitarian response is a vital part of the United States foreign assistance program. Despite its importance, draft proposals and discussions of foreign aid reform to date have focused almost exclusively on modernizing U.S. development assistance. The purpose of this brief statement is to propose the core principles that should guide U.S. humanitarian assistance in the interests of ensuring that any foreign aid reform initiative encompasses both humanitarian and development aspects of U.S. international assistance.
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Report: ICE Fugitive Operations Program Billed as Having Explicit National Security Focus Is Missing its Enforcement Mark
WASHINGTON — The federal fugitive operations program established in 2003 to locate, apprehend and remove fugitive aliens who pose a threat to the community has instead focused chiefly on arresting unauthorized immigrants without criminal convictions, according to a Migration Policy Institute report issued today. The report, Collateral Damage: An Examination of ICE’s Fugitive Operations Program, found that 73 percent of the nearly 97,000 people arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) fugitive operations teams between the program’s inception in 2003 and early 2008 were unauthorized immigrants without criminal records. Despite the National Fugitive Operations Program’s mandate to apprehend dangerous fugitives, arrests of fugitive aliens with criminal convictions have represented a steadily declining share of total arrests by the teams, accounting for just 9 percent of total arrests in 2007, down from 32 percent in 2003, according to the Department of Homeland Security’s own estimates.
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Becoming a Child Soldier
In 1983, when the second civil war started in his country of Sudan, Joseph was only 11 years old. That year the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) was established; they began broadcasting on the radio, a very powerful war propaganda tool.
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Safer schools needed to prevent children from joining armed activities in Chad
On Red Hand Day, 12 February, JRS West Africa calls upon the government, with the support of local and international communities, to increase efforts to prevent the use of children in armed groups through the creation of safer schools.
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U.N. urged to strengthen action to end use of child soldiers and JRS supports call to take further steps to safeguard children
On February 12, former child soldiers and other youth representing a grassroots campaign from around the world will present thousands of symbolic "red hands" to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to demand stronger action by international leaders to end the use of child soldiers. A UN treaty prohibiting the forced recruitment or use of children under the age of 18 in armed conflict, the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, has been ratified by 126 countries and entered into force on February 12, 2002, a date commemorated annually as "Red Hand Day."
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