Network information

  • Sector Social
  • Region Europe
  • Acronym JRS-E
  • Type of Network Jesuit Network
  • Link with Governance Conference

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Description of the Network

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. 

The Society of Jesus (Jesuits) founded JRS in 1980 in response to the plight of the Vietnamese boat people. The then-Superior General of the Jesuits, Fr Pedro Arrupe, was deeply moved by their suffering and felt compelled to respond. 

To this day, JRS continues to support displaced people who undertake life-threatening journeys to seek safety. Drawing inspiration from the Gospel values of justice, compassion and love for the excluded, we understand the term ‘refugee’ to embrace all forcibly displaced people, in line with Catholic social teaching.

One frequent destination of today’s 'boat people' is the European Union (EU), which has surrounded itself with a blockade of restrictive policies and patrols to keep them away. 

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 many countries across Europe, 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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