6 December 2023 – The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) is honored to participate in the Global Refugee Forum taking place in Geneva, Switzerland from 13 to 15 December. “We recognize the great opportunity to be present at this global event together with States and Government representatives, UN agencies, other NGOs, and refugee communities,” says Michael Schöpf S.J., JRS International Director, who will be leading the JRS delegation. “As JRS, we want to bring the voices of refugees and the people we accompany and serve, raising their main protection concerns and working together with other actors to improve our joint response.”
The Forum is the largest international gathering on refugees and the second follow-up meeting to the Global Compact on Refugees, the framework agreed by the UN General Assembly in 2018 that aims for more predictable and equitable responsibility sharing in the global response to refugee situations.
Throughout the week, States and stakeholders will discuss concrete pledges and contributions in key areas. Building on 43 years of experience serving refugees around the world, JRS has signed on to pledges in the areas of Education, Mental Health and Psychosocial Support, Climate Action, Rohingya, and Refugee Participation.
Precisely to promote the involvement and meaningful participation of refugees, JRS’s delegation to Geneva will be joined by Angie Torres, a young Afro-Colombian refugee living in Ecuador since 2016. Ms. Torres has experienced life in exile and is now a human rights and environmental activist working with Afro-descendant and refugee communities to spread awareness of their rights.
She will be a speaker at the official link event “Cartagena40+: commitment to refugees in Latin America and the Caribbean,” on Monday, 11 December. Knowing first-hand the violence, discrimination, and criminalization that refugees face in Central and Latin America, Ms. Torres will share her testimony as well as her perspective on refugee participation in the review of the Cartagena Declaration, which will take place next year on the occasion of its 40th anniversary, to which the JRS regional office in Latin America and the Caribbean will contribute.
On Tuesday, 12 December JRS will also present the research “Accelerate with Care: Towards Gender-Responsive Accelerated Secondary Education” at the Education Campus link event. Conducted by JRS and the Secondary Education Working Group (SEWG), the research examines the impact of secondary accelerated education programmes in enabling out-of-school, overage children and youth living in marginalised and crisis contexts to access and complete secondary education.
JRS looks forward to consolidating its partnerships with other faith-based organizations, NGOs, UN agencies, and donors, as well as strengthening and improving its way of working closely with refugees and refugee-led organisations. We want to catch the momentum of the Forum to include more refugees in the decision-making processes and to engage them in joint responses to the reality and issues affecting their lives.