Number of people served in 2020: 432
JRS Belgium was born out of the cooperation of people who took up the cause of those living on the edge and at the borders of our society. Father Jadot, S.J. supported by Xavier Dijon S.J. came together with a few others in Belgium in the 1980s to develop a response to a critical situation in Namur where refugees were in need.
As the number of refugees arriving in Belgium continued to increase, the then Jesuit Fathers of the Flemish provinces and the Southern part of the country requested that a Belgian bilingual section of the JRS be created in Brussels: the Jesuit Refugee Service Belgium. Soon after, visits to refugees and forced migrants in closed detention centers became a focal point. The team has access to and visits four of the five closed centers every week, listens to the detainees, offers them mental and psychological support, gives them information, and advocates for their rights.’
Our Work in Belgium
JRS Belgium seeks to uphold its shared conviction to accompany individuals and families in detention centers and return homes. It visits three out of six detention centers in Belgium and provides psychosocial and legal support to detainees. Stories collected in these centers are also a basis for dialogues with policymakers to diminish the inhumane practice of detention.
With the project Plan Together, JRS Belgium strives to provide families with children under sixteen without legal residence with assistance and support legally, socially, and psychologically to build a sustainable future. The project aims to empower these families, by accompanying them at home and resolving their case to avoid detention in the long run. This resolution could be a legal stay in Belgium or a safe and sustainable return to their home country or another country. Furthermore, the project focuses on involving these people in their migration process so that they can act on the framework of their settlement process. Apart from advocating for the rights of migrant families with the government, JRS raises the awareness of policymakers and civil society about community-based alternatives to detention.