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Fr. Claus Pfuff is the new Country Director of Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in Germany. With a celebration on June 11 in Berlin, he succeeded Fr. Frido Pflüger (71) as JRS Director. Pfuff, who originally is from Weilheim (Bavaria), was a school chaplain at the Jesuit High School Canisius-Kolleg in Berlin. Frido Pflüger will head the JRS in Uganda. Before moving to Berlin in 2012, he was JRS Regional Director for East Africa.

In Germany, JRS provides pastoral care and legal assistance for detainees pending deportation and immigrants without residence permit. Besides the office in Berlin staff members are working in accommodation centres in Munich and Essen. Like his predecessor, Pfuff represents the Archdiocese of Berlin in the hardship commission for the Berlin State and in the Forum Deportation Monitoring at the Berlin-Brandenburg Airport.

Before entering the Society in 2009, as priest with therapeutic training Pfuff helped to build up AIDS counselling in the diocese of Augsburg. As school chaplain at the Canisius-Kolleg he got to know their situation in „Welcome Classes“ for children of migrants and refugees.

At the handover ceremony, Dominik Bartsch, the representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Germany, called for deportations to be carried out "in safety and dignity". So he turned against deportations, which take place early in the morning because of the "surprise effect". How a state treats those affected makes its value system clear. Deportation should only be the „ultima ratio“ of the Immigration Controlling Policies.

Stefan Dybowski, responsible for religious institutes of the Archdiocese of Berlin, emphasized that Pflüger had always brought the individual destiny of people seeking help to the fore. The former JRS director and predecessor of Pflüger, Fr. Martin Stark, assured that in addition to the comprehensive educational work in schools and universities, the Jesuits will continue to have the greatest care for refugees and migrants.

Picture: Fr. Claus Pfuff receives an Ethiopian cross from Fr. Frido Pflüger

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