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.
Recently the Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Court ruled a woman born in the country to Haitian parents and registered as Dominican at birth should be denied nationality because her parents were undocumented. The ruling could affect 500,000 people. Fr. Mario Serrano S.J. discusses the ruling and his perspective as a Christian.
Refugees from Colombia, Haiti and Central America fleeing conflict and generalized violence leave their homes hoping to find safety for themselves and their families. Yet, some countries in the region arbitrarily refuse them entry at their borders and at times send them back to places where their lives, freedoms are in danger.
Reconciliation requires sacrifice. It means stepping out of your comfort zone, confronting your prejudices, and admitting your own transgressions. Only then can we recognize the dignity of others.
As the Syrian war moves into its thirtieth month, with no end in sight, the response by Jesuit Refugee Service has continued to evolve, from emergency assistance to a strengthening of the long-term service provision. The number of Syrian refugees in Jordan is now at 500,000 and preparing refugee communities for the future has become a priority.
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.
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.
Amid conflict, making a space for peace
Violence and displacement in the Central African Republic are leaving lasting emotional and mental scars on thousands of children. Giving them space to feel safe and to express themselves is one way to help them find peace.
“When the children first come to the UNICEF space, they tend to isolate themselves – some curl up under the mango tree,” says Pelagie, a volunteer educator in Central African Republic.
Find out how at these spaces, drawing and play are helping displaced children express their trauma and grief: http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/car_70826.html
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.
As they travel through Mexico, migrants are abused by organized crime syndicates, government officials and opportunistic criminals.
"Migrants are human beings who deserve dignity and respect," said Mary Small, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA Assistant Director of Policy and a co-author of the report. "Our communities and our governments can take steps to make sure these tragedies stop, whether it is migrants drowning in the Mediterranean or migrants being tortured and killed in Mexico."
Mercy Corps photographer Sumaya Agha recently visited Syrian refugee families in Jordan, and writes:
Even in such tragic circumstances, the kids I’ve met have such a natural inclination toward hope that they focus on what brings them happiness. And I hope we can help them hold on to that.
Myanmar | October 2, 2013
Terrified Muslim families hid in forests in western Myanmar on Wednesday, one day after fleeing a new round of deadly sectarian violence that erupted even as the president toured the divided region. The discovery of four bodies brought the death toll from the latest clashes up to at least five.
Tuesday’s unrest near the coastal town of Thandwe, which saw Buddhist mobs kill a 94-year-old woman and four other Muslims and burn dozens of homes, underscored the government’s persistent failure to stop the sectarian violence from spreading.
"Like in Korean movies, they have swords and sticks," said Muslim resident Tin Win. "There’s no law and order in this town. We’re in a serious situation, we’re really worried."
Another resident of Thandwe, Myo Min, said a small mosque in Kyikanyet, about 43 kilometers from Thandwe, was burned by attackers Tuesday night. Police said they were trying to confirm that report.
Myo Min said he was concerned about the safety of families who fled Tuesday’s violence. Many families in Thabyuchaing, he said, fled into forests when their village was attacked.
"Many of them, including women and children, are still hiding, and they are cornered and unable to come out," Myo Min said. "They need food and water, and Muslim elders are discussing with authorities to evacuate them or send food."
Most of those targeted in Rakhine state have been ethnic Rohingya Muslims, considered by many in the country to be illegal migrants from Bangladesh, though many of their families arrived generations ago. But in the latest flare-up this week, the victims were Kamans, another Muslim minority group, whose citizenship is recognized.
Muslims, who account for about 4 percent of Myanmar’s roughly 60 million people, have been the main victims of the violence, but they have been prosecuted for crimes related to the clashes far more often than members of the Buddhist majority.
Clashes between Buddhists and Muslims since June last year have killed at least 237 people in Myanmar and 192 of those deaths were in Rakhine state, where Rohingya Muslims, most of whom are stateless, bore the brunt of the attacks.
(Photos by Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters)
Jesuit Refugee Service/USA three years on Tumblr today!
Jesuit Refugee Service Panama administers several programs to help refugees. Counseling, humanitarian assistance, income generating activities, legal aid and advocacy on detention and asylum issues are some of the methods JRS uses to help these vulnerable people. Read the full story online to learn more about the work of JRS in Panama.