A record 33.3 million now displaced by war worldwide

(GENEVA) May 14, 2014 — Thirty-three million people were internally displaced at the end of 2013 due to conflict and violence says a new report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC). This equates to a staggering increase of 4.5 million from 2012, signaling a record high for the second year running.

SetWidth240-idmc-global-overview-2014-cover-72dpiToday IDMC, part of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), launched its Global Overview 2014 at the United Nations in Geneva, alongside the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). The report, which covers internal displacement in 2013 highlights that a full 63% of the record breaking 33.3 million internally displaced people (IDPs) reported worldwide, come from just five countries: Syria, Colombia, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Sudan. Including figures for Nigeria for the first time, the report documents that an astounding, 3.3 million Nigerians have been displaced by conflict.

“This record number of people forced to flee inside their own countries confirms a disturbing upward trend of internal displacement since IDMC first began monitoring and analyzing displacement back in the late 90s,” says Jan Egeland, the Secretary General of NRC.

“The dramatic increase in forced displacement in 2013 and the fact that the average amount of time people worldwide are living in displacement is now a staggering 17 years, all suggest that something is going terribly wrong in how we are responding and dealing with this issue,” says Egeland.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres added: “We should all be concerned about these numbers and the continuing upwards trend. We have a shared responsibility to act to end this massive suffering. Immediate protection and assistance for the internally displaced is a humanitarian imperative.” Read the rest of this entry »

Online retreat will mark 30 years of Jesuit Refugee Service

Online Retreat

This November 14th we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Jesuit Refugee Service. We recall fondly Father Pedro Arrupe’s sound advice to “pray, pray much” as he encouraged the struggling first generation of JRS team members in Southeast Asia to bring the overwhelming challenges of their new apostolic work to the Lord in prayer.

Three decades later, we once again invite our JRS family — current and former staff members, Jesuits, friends and colleagues—to reflect prayerfully on the ways in which we discover the presence of God in our ministry with refugees and displaced persons.

In honor of our 30th anniversary, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is introducing a free 30-day online retreat that links Ignatian Spirituality to the plight of refugees and vulnerable migrants.  It’s an easy way for people to fuse spirituality and social justice into your day .

The retreat will go live on November 1, and will be prominently linked on our home page.

The retreat links the Spiritual Exercises to the plight of refugees and vulnerable migrants and provides an easy way for people to fuse spirituality and social justice into their days.

Please update to our new RSS adress

Our blog has a new RSS feed URL, which should provide a more stable platform and faster load times. Please subscribe to
https://jrsusa.wordpress.com/feed/
in your favorite reader.

Pope urges respect for rights of child migrants, refugees and asylum seekers

“Underage migrants and refugees” is the theme chosen by the Holy Father for the ninety-sixth World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which is due to be celebrated on January 17, 2010.

“The celebration of the World Day of Migrants and Refugees once again gives me the opportunity to express the Church’s constant concern for those who, in different ways, experience emigration. This is a phenomenon which, as I wrote in the Encyclical ‘Caritas in Veritate,’ upsets us due to the number of people involved and the social, economic, political, cultural and religious problems it raises on account of the dramatic challenges it poses to both national and international communities. The migrant is a human being who possesses fundamental, inalienable rights that must be respected by everyone and in every circumstance.

“While the Convention on the Rights of the Child clearly states that the best interests of minors must always be safeguarded, recognizing their fundamental human rights as equal to the rights of adults, unfortunately this does not always happen in practice. Although there is an increasing public awareness of the need for immediate and incisive action to protect minors, nevertheless, many are left to themselves and, in various ways, face the risk of exploitation.”

It is my heartfelt hope that proper attention will be given to underage migrants, who need a social environment that enables and fosters their physical, cultural, spiritual and moral development. Living in a foreign land without effective points of reference generates countless and sometimes serious hardships and difficulties for them, especially those deprived of the support of their family.
Read the rest of this entry »

UN urges more support for Sri Lanka’s displaced

The top United Nations humanitarian official has welcomed the recent releases of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from camps in northern Sri Lanka, and underscored the need to ensure full freedom of movement for those remaining.

John Holmes

John Holmes


John Holmes noted in particular that the Menik Farm camp contains only half the number of displaced now than it did at the end of May, when the Government declared an end to its military operations against the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

During a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama in the capital, Colombo, Mr. Holmes said he hoped to see continued progress in allowing people to leave the camps and restore their lives.
Read the rest of this entry »

U.S. urges Sri Lanka do more for displaced people held in camps

Agence France Press reports that on Wednesday the U.S. House of Representatives voted, 421 – 1, to approve a non-binding resolution that calls on the government of Sri Lanka to help the populations of widely condemned, tightly guarded camps return to their homes. Currently, there are about 300,000 displaced people held in camps.

House resolution 711 calls

on the Government of Sri Lanka to address the human rights and humanitarian needs of its civilian internally displaced Tamil population currently living in government-run camps by working with the United Nations and the international community to implement a process of release and resettlement of such internally displaced persons (IDPs), and allowing foreign aid groups to provide relief and resources throughout the process.

Serious violations of international law committed in Sri Lanka conflict says UN human rights chief

The following statement comes from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees:

GENEVA (OHCHR) — The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay expressed her growing alarm March 13, at the increasing number of civilians reported killed and injured in the conflict in northern Sri Lanka, and at the apparent ruthless disregard being shown for their safety.

“Certain actions being undertaken by the Sri Lankan military and by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam may constitute violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.” Pillay said. “We need to know more about what is going on, but we know enough to be sure that the situation is absolutely desperate. The world today is ever sensitive about such acts that could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

Read the rest of this entry »