Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) is an international Catholic organisation with a mission to accompany, serve and advocate for the rights of refugees and others who are forcibly displaced.  

JRS Europe advocates for the respectful and fair treatment of all migrants affected by European policy, and defends their access to procedures that guarantee the basic rights enshrined in international law. A regional office based in Brussels advocates at European Union level and ensures that policymakers hear refugees’ voices.

The regional office also facilitates a network of JRS offices through common planning and project work. In 12 countries across Europe, as well as in Greece, Macedonia and Kosovo, JRS gives direct support to forced migrants and refugees, especially those who are forgotten and in most urgent need. JRS Europe has several projects to assist asylum seekers and other forced migrants in detention as well as community initiatives promoting hospitality and social inclusion. 

JRS Europe also works to foster a culture of openness, embodied by hospitality. This is one of our more urgent tasks because hospitality is a value that is being eroded in today’s world where many are so fearful of the 'other'. Writing to JRS on its 30th anniversary, the Jesuit Superior General, Fr Adolfo Nicolás SJ, said: "JRS, in serving refugees, is Gospel hospitality in action; but, perhaps, we can ask how we may, creatively, effectively and positively, influence the closed and unwelcoming values of the cultures in which we work."

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A discussion was organised by Centro Astalli, the Jesuit Refugee Service , on June 17, at the Gregorian University, between Luciano Manicardi, Prior of the Community of Bose, Massimo Cacciari, Philosopher, and Marco Damilano, Director of L'Espresso, on the theme of migration "Refugees: on the margins of humanity". "Thirty years ago, following the fall of the Berlin Wall, we had dreamt of a unity of diversity," Fr. Ripamonti said at the introduction. "We do not know the exact number of people who died while trying to reach West Berlin through the wall, perhaps a few hundred. Instead, it is estimated that more than 30,000 people have lost their lives since 1990 trying to reach Europe by sea or by land ... the human cost of building barriers in a European Union born to break them down is definitely unacceptable. A Europe that is irreparably "old and frightened", says Massimo Cacciari. And inspite of this, "Europe's purpose is to be welcoming because otherwise it will disappear: it will be a long and probably tragic process, unless a ruling class is formed, a qualified elite, which understands the historical, economic and social need to welcome and integrate". The only possible European policy to save the old continent is "a Mediterranean policy", which will be able to connect to the great question of the next century, "Africa, and its enormous resources" in terms of wealth and youth. "The great cultures that have founded Europe", the philosopher says," the liberal, socialist and Christian ones, "have managed to survive but they must make a new narrative about Europe", "a new cultural and anthropological understanding". Even the laws of the Old Testament drew up a "code of the rights of the migrant", in which "there is first of all a "culture of memory", "Do not oppress others because you too have been foreigners", the biblical God reveals Himself to the Jews when they were foreigners in Egypt", recalls the prior of Bose, Luciano Manicardi. In the immigrant, he adds, the son of Israel sees his own image, "the foreigner allows you to see yourself by making you a foreigner, and thus giving you a possibility of revelation. Finally, ancient laws evoke concrete integration, economic, social and religious measures, such as the addition of the sabbatical rest or the payment of fair wages. "At the heart of the Christian message", explains the prior of Bose , "there isn't something religious, but something human, the concrete person with a history, a face and his suffering". From the Gospel narrative we therefore grasp that "becoming neighbor is first of all acting on oneself".
JRS opened a Refugee Transition Centre (CTR) in Évora (south region of Portugal) with capacity for 30 people with the aim of ensuring the initial reception of families from Turkey and Egypt under the Resettlement Programme from ACNUR. The stay of refugee families should not exceed three months, after which they will be redirected to the Refugee Support Platform host institutions throughout the country. The period of stay at the centre aims to adapt the residents to the Portuguese culture, while their profile is studied to facilitate the selection of host institutions that will host them. "This solution is the one that best suits and enables the preparation of the reception and we believe that a better integration in Portuguese society. It's not enough to do good, we need to do good, well done", says André Costa Jorge, general director of JRS Portugal. Team The centre will have a JRS team composed of a technical staff, with two Portuguese teachers, a social technician, administrative and logistical coordination, a psychologist, in addition to a security component for proximity monitoring. Nine families from Syria and Iraq are expected to arrive at the Centre next July. The Portuguese government has committed to welcoming 1010 people under the Resettlement Programme by the end of 2019. Projects in Portugal In addition to the center now open in Évora, JRS-Portugal  is involved in different projects: Lisbon: Pedro Arrupe Center– a Shelter for homeless refugees; autonomous residence for refugees living an integration process; technical direction of a municipal attendance center; runs its own attendance center which has different valences: job search; psychological help; formation center. In Oporto the centre is responsible for accompanying refugees living in a detention centre.
Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) is happy to announce the release of our new logo as we seek to respond to the situation of refugees and other forcibly displaced people in more effective ways. Our mission to accompany, serve, and advocate on behalf of refugees compels us to adapt and change as circumstances demand.  Nearly 40 years since JRS was first founded, and 30 years since JRS Europe was founded, we remain convinced that the value of accompaniment, journeying with the dispossessed as they seek to rebuild their lives, is at the heart of who we are as an organisation. Our new logo tells the world that we walk with refugees in search of a just future through protection, hospitality, inclusion and reconciliation. JRS has always rendered a service that not only brings healing in the present, but also creates resources and opportunities for human and spiritual formation towards a better tomorrow. A response to the national, European and global reality of refugees and forced migrants is why JRS is in existence. JRS continues to work towards a Europe where human rights, protection, hospitality, integration, and reconciliation all have a place to flourish within a larger vision for inclusive and welcoming societies. Still the value of accompaniment, journeying with refugees as they seek to rebuild their lives, is at the heart of who we are as an organisation.
JRS Europe's Annual General Meeting. Brussels, 30 April 2019 – More than 50 JRS staff members from over 12 countries came together this April in Barcelona for JRS Europe’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), specially dedicated this year to the topic of integration in the city. “At JRS, we accompany people on arrival or that has been for some years in Europe; we accompany them learning languages, searching for a job, when they go to the doctor or when they enrol their children in the school. Cities are full of opportunities, but also of challenges for everybody: locals, migrants, asylum seekers and refugees,” reflected Jose Ignacio Garcia SJ, director of JRS Europe. The AGM has been a space to reflect on the challenges the city presents for our work and to share best practices on integration across Europe. Most importantly, we discussed about all those who live in our cities and whose irregular administrative situation obliges them to a life of destitution and vulnerability. The first day of exchanges included a discussion with migration academic experts who presented the theoretical framework on integration and valuable insights into the Spanish and Catalonian local context. Luis Rodriguez, from the University Institute of Studies on Migration (IUEM), presented the research project on Social Integration of Population of Immigrant Origin in Spain. Silvia Carrasco, from the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology of Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB) discussed about the challenges and opportunities for the integration of immigrants in Catalonia and highlighted the importance of including both locals and migrants in any integration project to shape cities that foster co-existence and respect for the other. Finally, the panel session was closed by Xavier Alonso from the Generalitat de Catalunya, who addressed public integration policies in Catalonia.  On the second day, we learnt from our colleagues of Servicio Jesuita a Migrantes (SJM Spain) and Migra Studium more about concrete experiences in Barcelona. The Hospitality campaign, run by Migra Studium in Catalonia (Campaña Hospitalidad), is a key project that facilitates integration of migrants and refugees in the city by bringing locals and newcomers together. Sanja Rahim and Olga Correa, collaborating also with Migra Studium, referred to the difficulties that destitute and vulnerable people can face in the urban context of Barcelona. On the other hand, Kiran Khan from Migra Studium informed us about the newly launched Pakistan/Bengal trade dynamization programme running currently in the neighbourhoods Ravaland Gòtic that seeks to provide small and medium-sized entrepreneurs from various countries with advice on how to expand their business.  JRS staff members also had the opportunity visit some organizations working to promote the integration of migrants in Catalonian society:   - Migra Studium opened its doors and welcomed the participants in the very heart of the Gòtic quarter of Barcelona so that they could discover the three areas of its work: welcome services, reflection, cultural and religious diversity.  - Fundació Salut Alta works in the outskirts of Barcelona. Here the passion and the commitment of the team is incredible. Salud Alta develops and runs education projects with children, teenagers and their families to give them hope and help them build a safer neighbourhood that promotes coexistence and tolerance.  - Fundació La Vinya was created by three parishes in 1998 to support community actions. Nowadays, it works on non-formal education projects with children and their families, it gives accompaniment for adults in need, especially migrant women, and, additionally, it runs a food bank for families who need it.    The visits were extremely enriching. We are often part of cities which still do not include everyone in their life dynamics and evolution. Hence, today, our work as JRS on serving and accompanying is needed more than ever; so that we can shape all together cities that leave no one behind.  Based on our mission, we shall continue developing ways to improve the lives of people by providing them with all the necessary support in their day-to-day reality that helps them increase self-resilience and trust in themselves.     From the side of JRS Europe, we launched and presented to our JRS colleagues our new campaign ‘’The Power of Vote” aiming at raising awareness for refugees’ and migrants’ rights in view of the upcoming European Parliament Elections. We have one important power; our vote. In May, we, at JRS, invite all the citizens in Europe to use this power and vote. But doing it, while keeping in mind the rights of people in need. Our vote is a choice. It can build not only inclusive cities but even more an inclusive Europe, where people find protection, dignity, liberty and equality.
JRS launch campaign for EU elections. The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) has launched a campaign on 10 April to remind voters of the power they have in the upcoming European Parliamentary elections to ensure protection for the rights of asylum seekers and refugees. Using the hashtag format of social media, they are calling the campaign #ThePowerofVote. What makes the campaign all the more urgent is the serious threat to EU common values and principles in recent times. A shift in the culture has meant that there is now in some parts of Europe an absence of safe and legal pathways to protection. Also apparent is the extensive use of detention of asylum seekers and the worsening shortage of dignified living conditions. Speaking at the launch, David Moriarty, JRS Ireland Assistant Director, said: “European citizens have the power to vote for a Europe that remains true to its founding values and principles – a Europe that leaves no one behind. This #ThePowerofVote campaign is calling on all citizens to stand up for the fate of asylum seekers and refugees in Europe.” The campaign will ask citizens to vote for: A Europe of Protection through the establishment of enhanced safe and legal pathways to access European territory A Europe of Dignity by creating humane and dignified reception facilities for people in need of protection A Europe of Liberty by stopping the detention of vulnerable people, including children, and utilising alternatives to detention A Europe of Equality by making the integration of all citizens, including asylum seekers, refugees and forced migrants, a reality In conclusion, Mr. Moriarty added: “The next European Parliament will play a crucial role in shaping EU policy. It must strive towards the creation of an inclusive society for all. In advance of the elections, JRS will be campaigning in over 20 countries with one simple message: This May, go to vote because you have #ThePowerofVote!” The Power of Vote website is available at:
“Hospitality: do we need it?” was the question posed last Saturday, 9th march, by JRS Portugal and Brotéria that hosted an open day dedicated to the discussion about asylum and migration issues, given the approach of the European Elections. The purpose of this event was to call for attention to this reality and to keep it in the agenda during this pre-electoral period. The day was divided in three round tables aiming to answer how the hospitality is communicated, planned and lived nowadays. We began the day listening to three different journalists from different media channels that discussed the role of media regarding the theme’s exposure and public opinion towards migrants and refugees. The second round table gathered a representative of each Portuguese political family with a sit in the European Parliament to exchange their point of view on the subject taking into consideration the European Elections next may. The third and last round table aimed to share true stories about seeking hospitality under different ways and perspectives told in the first person by a stateless refugee, a Portuguese writer and traveller, a missionary in conflict countries and a jiu jitsu teacher that found hospitality within the martial art community around the world. During the event was presented a photo exhibition with recent photographs from Syria taken by Ouwais Sadeck, a Syrian student currently living in Portugal. This event also wanted to raise awareness to the participation in the next European Elections and to the online campaign that JRS Europe is engaged in. Sign In!