Maternal mortality in Haiti

The Bureau for International Reporting takes a look at the problem of maternal mortality in Haiti in a report filmed before and after the earthquake. Haiti has the worst maternal death rate in the Western Hemisphere, but had been showing signs of promise.

Can this momentum be regained? And how has the earthquake complicated an already deadly problem?


JRS Europe reports on forced migration

Jesuit Refugee Service – Europe has released a new report concerning the destitution of forced migrants across Europe.

This report describes the social and legal situation of forced migrants who came from countries outside the European Union and are living in destitution in Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.  The report gives an insight into the meaning of destitution and its effects on migrants who suffer from it.

Click here to download a PDF of the report.

Leahy, Levin co-sponsor Refugee Protection Action of 2010

WASHINGTON (Monday, March 15, 2010) – Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Monday introduced legislation to strengthen the country’s commitment to protecting refugees fleeing persecution or torture.  The Refugee Protection Action of 2010 will help to improve protections for refugees and asylum seekers with bona fide claims.  The legislation is cosponsored by Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.).

The introduction of the Refugee Protection Act also commemorates the 30th anniversary of the historic Refugee Act of 1980, which was enacted to fulfill the country’s obligations under the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol.  The Leahy-authored legislation introduced Monday addresses shortfalls in current law that place unnecessary and harmful barriers before refugees with legitimate asylum claims, making it more difficult for them to find safe harbor in the United States.

“It is time to renew America’s commitment to the Refugee Convention, and to bring our law back into compliance with the Convention’s promise of protection,” said Leahy.

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Hurricane season approaching, Haitians need shelter

Shelter remains the biggest and most urgent priority in Haiti, two months after it was struck by a catastrophic earthquake, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said yesterday as he visited the country for the second time since the disaster and stressed that the world has not forgotten its people’s plight.

Mr. Ban met with President René Préval and Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive and toured a camp that is home to tens of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) on a one-day visit to the Caribbean country ahead of the international donors’ conference for Haiti that will be held at United Nations Headquarters in New York on 31 March.

The Secretary-General told journalists in Port-au-Prince, the capital, that the situation in Haiti, where the transition from emergency relief to early recovery and reconstruction has begun, remains extremely difficult.

Estimates vary but as many as 230,000 Haitians may have been killed in the quake that struck on 12 January and much of Port-au-Prince and nearby towns was levelled. Around 1.3 million people remain homeless. Read the rest of this entry »

1.2 million still homeless two months after Haiti earthquake

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will make a one-day visit to Haiti on Sunday, his second to the Caribbean country since the January 12 earthquake, his spokesperson announced today.

While in the capital, Port-au-Prince, Mr. Ban will meet with President René Préval and Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, as well as with the leadership of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti and UN agencies working on the ground, Martin Nesirky told reporters.

The Secretary-General will also visit a camp housing some of the estimated 1.2 million people displaced by the 7.0-magnitude quake.

Meanwhile, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has announced that the $1.44 billion revised humanitarian appeal for Haiti is only 49 per cent funded.

Two months after the earthquake, the humanitarian work is picking up speed, OCHA noted, with more than 4.3 million people having received food assistance, 1.2 million people receiving daily water distributions, and more than 300,000 children and adults vaccinated against a range of infectious diseases, including measles, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough.

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Jesuit Superior meets JRS staff after recent visit to Sri Lanka

Fr. Adolfo Nicolas S.J., Father General of the Society of Jesus, visited the Province of Sri Lanka last month. While visiting the region of Colombo-Galle, Father Nicolás stressed several themes particularly dear to him: depth of commitment, creativity and life in the Spirit, and inserting these into the specific reality of Jesuits in Sri Lanka today.

He noted that technology can be a powerful aid to serious intellectual work and to the strengthening of commitment but that it can be a temptation to superficiality. He concluded by saying that unless religious life shows such experiential commitment it will have little to say to Asia so steeped in deep and ancient religious traditions.

Fr. Adolfo Nicolás S.J. is introduced to Jesuit Refugee Service staff by JRS International Director Fr. Peter Balleis, S.J., Thursday at the Curia in Rome.

Fr. Adolfo Nicolás S.J. is introduced to Jesuit Refugee Service staff by JRS International Director Fr. Peter Balleis, S.J., Thursday, March 11, 2010 at the Curia in Rome.

The meeting with the Jesuits of Kandy district was an opportunity to highlight the challenges the Society faces in Sri Lanka.  He called attention to the promotion of dialogue between the north and the south of the nation and among factions who are in conflict.  It is necessary, he said, to build bridges and form alliances that will promote a just society.

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Shelter critical need for post-quake Haiti

Returning from seeing first-hand the destruction wrought by the earthquake that struck Chile last month, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today stressed the urgent need for shelter, which is also a priority for millions of quake survivors in Haiti.

“Shelter is very important and an urgent one for both Haiti and Chile,” Mr. Ban said at UN Headquarters, following his visit to Chile over the weekend to get a fuller picture of the extent of the damage from the 27 February quake and to better assess how the UN can best help.

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