Sunday, March 1, 2009, is the 10th anniversary of the historic treaty banning antipersonnel mines becoming binding international law. The Mine Ban Treaty obligates its participants to comprehensively discontinue the use, production, stockpile, and transfer of antipersonnel landmines; to destroy stockpiles within four years; to clear mines within their own territories within ten years, and to provide continuing assistance to mine survivors.

The United States is one of thirty-nine countries that have not yet formally joined the treaty and thus remains at odds with the widespread international rejection of the weapon.

Mission Possible: A Mine-Free World

Mission Possible: A Mine-Free World

“Jesuit Refugee Service/USA urges President Obama and the U.S. Congress to sign and ratify the Mine Ban Treaty,” said Fr. Kenneth J. Gavin, S.J., Director of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA.

Speaking at a conference on security policy in Germany on Feb. 9, 2009, National Security Adviser James L. Jones, a retired U.S. Marine four-star general, said, “The President has made clear that to succeed against 21st century challenges, the United States must use, balance, and integrate all elements of national influence: our military and our diplomacy, our economy and our intelligence, and law enforcement capacity, our cultural outreach, and … the power of our moral example, in short, our values.”

“Joining the treaty would be a clear reassertion of moral leadership, and a signal that the U.S. values those innocent people who continue to be killed and maimed by landmines,” said Fr. Gavin.

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Take Action! Write to Congress

Take action today to urge your congressional representative to sign-on as a co-sponsor of H.R. 144, a bill that will temporarily halt deportations of Haitian nationals in the United States, allowing the Haitian government the time it needs to invest its limited resources into rebuilding the country and offering emergency relief to its suffering citizens following four deadly storms last September.

As you may know, in September 2008 Haiti suffered massive destruction wrought by Tropical Storms Fay and Hanna and Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. Currently 800,000 Haitians are in need of humanitarian assistance. The storms left many of Haiti’s 8.5 million citizens homeless – without food, water, shelter, or healthcare – and compounded the food shortage which came to light during the food riots in April 2008. The Artibonite “breadbasket” region of Haiti has been flooded by storm waters, destroying an estimated 180 million dollars in crops.

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Video: 'Forces of Good'

‘Forces of Good’ at work on border from Jesuit Refugee Service/USA on Vimeo.

The Kino Border Initiative is a partnership of several Catholic organizations, including the Missionary Sisters of the Eucharist and the Society of Jesus, who seek to respond to the call of Christ, who is present among those who are suffering from the consequences of contemporary immigration policy, border enforcement efforts, and the reality of undocumented migration, apprehension, detention and deportation.

Video: Transforming Hearts

The Kino Border Initiative is “a response to Jesus present in the person. That’s ultimately what motivates us,” says Fr. Sean Carroll, S.J., while talking about the binational efforts of the Initiative to assist deported migrants in Ambos Nogales.

Transforming Hearts from Jesuit Refugee Service/USA on Vimeo.

Fr. Carroll shares the hope that the comprehensive and integrated three-pronged approach will lead to a transformation of minds and hearts.

Photo Gallery

During a Mass last November celebrating the 100th anniversary of former Father General and founder of Jesuit Refugee Service Pedro Arrupe’s birth, current Father General Adolfo Nicolás, S.J., spoke briefly of Fr Arrupe’s personality, describing him as a “man of the heart … a heart completely open and burning with love and compassion for his fellow man.”

It is from this heart that Jesuit Refugee Service was born. Today, JRS assists more than half a million refugees and forcibly displaced people in 57 countries worldwide.

After the mass, as a testimony to Fr. Arrupe’s vision, Fr. Nicolás inaugurated the JRS photo exhibition “Man on Fire.” This event traces the history of this global service for refugees.

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Holy See address on social development

One of the core principles of Jesuit Refugee Service is accompaniment, the concrete commitment of being there with refugees and internally displaced people and sharing their daily struggle to return to normalcy.

Earlier this month, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, delivered an address to the U.N. Economic and Social Council which spoke to the concept.

“What seems to be missing in the fight against poverty, inequality and discrimination, are not primarily financial assistance, or the economic and juridical cooperation which are equally essential, but rather, people and relational networks capable of sharing life with those in situations of poverty and exclusion, individuals capable of presence and action, whose enterprise is recognized by local, national and global institutions.”

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More than 100,000 citizen children find parents deported

According to a report by the Department of Homeland Security, more than 100,000 immigrants deported between 1998 and 2007 had children who were U.S. citizens.

“I am saddened, but not surprised to learn that our government, in its harsh anti-immigrant stance, has split hundreds of thousands of families apart over the past decade,” Congressman José E. Serrano said.

“Over the years, I have said many times that our current deportation regime is inhumane and un-American. Now we have direct proof that this is the case.”

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