Newsroom
JRS staff and volunteers witness powerful stories every day. Some are picked up in the international media, and others aren't. In the newsroom you can read the most up to date news effecting refugees on local, regional and international levels.
Australia: Arrupe Place wins 2015 Community Wellbeing Award
Sydney, 13 November 2015- The support services at Arrupe Place for people seeking asylum living in the community have been recognized with the 2015 Community Wellbeing Award given by the Australian Psychological Society (APS).
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JRS: A Crisis and a Challenge
Boston, 22 October 2015- Words and phrases matter a lot in the refugee crisis that has roiled Europe and the Middle East, according to Boston College faculty members.
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Rome: JRS appoints new International Director
14 October 2015- “I’m deeply honored and grateful that Fr General would ask me to do this because JRS really speaks to the heart of Jesuit identity and our Jesuit mission. It’s going where the need is greatest,” Fr Smolich said.
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Myanmar and Thailand: Is the border ready for repatriation?
Mae Hong Son, 21 August 2015- In an interview on July 20, 2015 with BBC NEWS current Senior General Min Aung Hlaing of Myanmar stated until there is a lasting peace agreement and a ceasefire among ethnic groups that the Military would not leave the political arena over security concerns. "It could be five years or 10 years - I couldn't say," he said.
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Asia Pacific- The Journey of a Rohingya
Bangkok, 14 August 2015- The Archbishop of Rangoon, Charles Bo, in his New Year message emphasised the value of fraternity and unity in diversity and invited the government of Myanmar and the international community to resolve the issues related to citizenship. The Rohingya flee for religious and political reasons as they face persecution for being Muslim and are considered stateless by the government.
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World Refugee Day: push forward, not back
Rome, 15 June 2015 – For World Refugee Day this weekend, the Jesuit Refugee Service urges you to remember that the key to change is within each of us. While governments decide to accept or reject refugees, only we have the power to truly welcome them. We must change our fixed view of refugees as 'the other.'
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Hospitality and Solidarity needed in addressing Rohingya
Bangkok, 19 May 2015 — Jesuit Refugee Service Asia Pacific is deeply concerned on the rapidly deteriorating situation the Rohingya are facing in the region over the last years.The failure of governments in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Myanmar to adequately respond to their current plight is a human tragedy – and a sign that governments are detached from the values deeply embedded in the cultures, society and religions of ASEAN countries.
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Solidarity with refugee flood victims in Mae Hong Son
Mae Hong Son, 3 September 2014 – Schools significantly damaged by flash-flooding in Ban Mai Nai Soi and Ban Mae Surin Camps last week are now benefiting from volunteer support. Heavy rains followed by flash flooding and landslides in the early hours of Wednesday 27th August have killed two people and displaced one hundred and fifty four households in the Thai-Burma border refugee camps commonly known as Camp 1 and 2. Surrounding Thai villages were also affected.
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JRS calls for a regional response to forced migration
Bangkok, 13 August 2014- The need for cross-border and regional collaboration on refugees has never been greater, and Australia has the potential to play a leading role in the development of a regional response to forced migration in the Asia-Pacific region, says Jesuit Refugee Service. JRS’ recently-released paper titled A Regional Response to Forced Migration says Australia can no longer ignore its duty in helping to establish an agreement that will ensure governments share the burden of displacement and provide safe pathways for the 8.4 million displaced people currently living in the Asia-Pacific region.
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The thoughts and prayers of JRS Asia Pacific are with people in the Philippines as they weather Typhoon Glenda
Bangkok, 17 July 2014 - The thoughts and prayers of JRS Asia Pacific are with our friends and partner organisations in the Philippines as they weather Typhoon Rammasun, known locally as Glenda. According to Bloomberg coverage of local government announcements more than 338,000 people have already been displaced by the storm. Until recently, the Philippines was on the road to recovery after Typhoon Haiyan or Yolanda. Since November 2013, JRS Asia Pacific and JRS Indonesia have been assisting with those recovery efforts by sending programme staff on secondment to Manila and the Dinagat Islands to support a local Community Based Organisation - Simbanhang Lingkod ng Bayan (SLB) in their work with people who were forced from their homes by that emergency. As NGOs and CBOs across the Philippines prepare themselves to respond once again to the needs of displaced people, JRS Asia Pacific would like to express our solidarity with all those impacted by Typhoon Glenda. For now, to all in the affected areas, please be on alert and stay safe. We wish you all the best.
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World Refugee Day statement: finding safe spaces together
Rome, 20 June 2014 – Today on World Refugee Day, the Jesuit Refugee Service commemorates the courage and endurance of the millions of people forced to flee their homes, and the many who welcome them into their communities. In the last 12 months, the numbers of people displaced due to conflict – more than two-thirds from Syria, South Sudan and the Central African Republic – and human rights abuses have reached 50 million. Mass displacement is at a 20 year high, on a scale not seen since the wars in former Yugoslavia.
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Thailand: fleeing to fear and isolation
Bangkok, 14 May 2014 – A padlocked gate separates three Vietnamese Hmong families in their Bangkok apartment from the rest of the sprawling city. The children rarely leave to play in the fresh air. Their parents fear if they step out the front door they could be arrested for not having a legal Thai visa or, worse, deported back to Vietnam, where they could face the reality of the brutal persecution which triggered their initial escape.
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People seeking refuge in Australia may be resettled in Cambodia
Bangkok, 8 May 2014 - Jesuit Refugee Service Asia Pacific (JRSAP) is deeply concerned about the Australian Government’s request to Cambodia to resettle refugees from Australia’s off shore processing centre on Nauru Island. A spokesperson for the Cambodian Foreign Ministry has stated that Cambodia has agreed “in principle” to the request but was still considering its feasibility. He added that Cambodia would only accept refugees who agree to come to Cambodia. JRS calls upon the Government of Australia to live up to its obligations under international law to guarantee adequate protection to these vulnerable individuals who have sought asylum in Australia, to ensure that they have due process and if they are found to be refugees to grant them protection in Australia.
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When the boats come in
Most recent public opinion polls show that a significant majority of Australians support the harsh policies of the present government towards asylum seekers who come on boats. I know of no recent survey of attitudes in the Australian Catholic population towards the same issue, but it cannot have escaped us that the current policies have been put in place by a government led by a Catholic (and former seminarian) who wears his faith on his sleeve, and that the Minister for Immigration lists “Church” as his favourite hobby in “Who’s Who”.
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Unrest in Bangkok
Bangkok,18 February 2014 – A rising sense of fear in urban refugee communities is an unintended consequence of the ongoing civil unrest in Bangkok. The JRS Thailand teams serving these vulnerable communities have witnessed the increased tension and done their best to provide encouragement to refugees in Bangkok, even while wondering themselves, whether or not they would make it into the office each day.
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Violence displaced returnee communities anew
Mindanao,12 February 2014 - Internally Displaced returnee communities in Maguindanao and North Cotabato, in the southern Philippines, were forced to flee once again, just one day after the signing of the last annex of the Bangsamoro Framework (FAB), the much anticipated peace agreement between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the government of the Philippines, on 26th January, 2014.
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Jesuit Refugee Service to support displaced students get back to school
Bangkok, 6 January 2014 - The fire incident took place in the afternoon of December 28, 2013. The cause of the fire is still unclear. As the sector lead for education, JRS will work with the Karenni Education Department (KnED) in providing the learning needs of twenty-nine students affected by the fire.
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JRS Asia Pacific receives Tara Award
Bangkok , 29 November 2013 – Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Asia Pacific recently received a 'Tara Award' from Mae Chee Sansanee Sthirasuta, a popular Buddhist nun in Thailand, founder of the Sathira Dhammasathan Centre. This Year, the Tara Award was given to 999 individuals and organizations that make a positive impact on society.
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Asia Pacific: Jesuit Refugee Service to support local Philippine relief efforts
Bangkok, 14 November 2013 – In the face of the enormous destruction and displacement wrought by typhoon Haiyan, the Jesuit Refugee Service has decided the most practical immediate response is to provide logistical support to Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan, a local Jesuit-led organisation.
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Australia: Asylum seekers facing more difficulties
Sydney, 29 October 2013 - The installation of the new federal government has intensified the difficulties being experienced by the more than 2,200 asylum seekers currently detained on Christmas Island, the 1,061 transferred to Manus Island and 827 sent to Nauru.
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Thailand: JC:HEM commences in Mae Hong Son
Mae Hong Son, 10 October 2013 - After much hard work and anticipation, the first course of the Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins (JC:HEM) programme in Mae Hong Son (MHS) started at Camp 1 on 20 September 2013.
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Cambodia: workshop promotes reconciliation in the lives of refugees
Siem Reap, 5 August 2013 – Although the issue of reconciliation has always been of concern to the Jesuit Refugee Service, in the past five years the organisation has begun mainstreaming reconciliation into all its work.
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Timor-Leste: Moving from emergency assistance to development
Jesuit Refugee Service plans to withdraw from Timor-Leste in 2013 having provided social and livelihoods support to displaced people for the past seven years. A new development organization run by the Jesuit Church - Jesuit Social Services - will open up in its place. The JRS mandate is geared towards assisting communities in need of aid and accompaniment while displaced from their lands.
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Papua New Guinea: Refugees and advocates call for greater legal rights
Kiunga, 20 July 2013— More than 9,000 thousand West Papuan refugees and asylum seekers remain in Papua New Guinea's Western Province (on the southwest coastal border with Indonesia), in camps, border areas, and urban areas. With displacement stretching on for more than twenty years, refugees are becoming increasingly discouraged by their lack of citizenship and consequent lack of access to basic necessities, such as higher education, employment, and proper housing.
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News archive
Thailand: World Refugee Day in Mae Hong Son’s refugee camps
10 July 2013 – From 14-20 June, organizations and refugees raised their voices together to share refugees’ perspectives with the broader Thai community in Mae Hong Son. Following the UN Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) theme, "One family torn apart by war is too many,” Burmese refugee students of all ages participated in art competitions in the Ban Mai Nai Soi and Ban Mae Surin refugee camps. In Mae Hong Son (MHS) town, UNHCR and NGOs set up information booths for the public and hosted speeches, to observe World Refugee Day in 2013.
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Thailand: Celebrating Refugee Resilience on World Refugee Day
Bangkok, 28 June 2013 – June 20th may not be a well known date outside the humanitarian community but it marks the day, eleven years ago, when the United Nations General Assembly commemorated the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Refugee Convention, a document created to protect the millions of displaced people worldwide. It also coincides with Africa’s Refugee Day, as designated by the Organization for African Unity (OAU).
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Thailand: Bowled over by Sunday cricket
Bangkok, 26 June 2013 – In May 2013, JRS Thailand’s Urban Refugee Programme organised a cricket team to enter a cricket tournament spanning six Sundays. The twelve teams in the tournament are composed primarily of players from Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, and Sri Lanka – most of who are long-time residents in Thailand. This is the first time that urban refugee sports players have participated as a team in a mainstream Bangkok sporting event.
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Thailand: World Refugee Day in Bangkok’s Immigration Detention Centre
Bangkok, 25 June 2013 – On 20 June 2013, JRS Thailand organised World Refugee Day events in the Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) in Bangkok with speeches and performances by 120 refugees, asylum seekers and their families, in the semi-outdoor common activity room on the ground floor.
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Cambodia: Displaced women forced into marriage deserve an apology
Phnom Penh, 24 May 2013—Cambodian women who were displaced by the Khmer Rouge and forced to marry strangers between 1975 and 1979, are taking their cases to the ECCC courts in Phnom Penh as a way to heal.
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Australia: removing a country from the migration zone
Sydney, 28 May 2013 — In an unprecedented effort to deter the arrival of asylum seekers who are in need of sanctuary, the federal Labor party has performed a dramatic U-turn and excised the entire Australian mainland from the migration zone.
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Thailand: Homeward bound after 2,911 days in detention
Bangkok, 8 May 2013 — Nearly eight years ago, Mariya, a previously undocumented thirty-three year old Indonesian woman, was arrested and detained in southern Thailand after being found without a valid visa or passport.
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Thailand: Landmine survivors photo exhibit unveiled
Bangkok, 4 April 2013 — In celebration of International Landmine Awareness Day in 2013, a photo exhibition spotlighting landmine survivors was unveiled today to the Thai public in downtown Bangkok's Siam Paragon shopping mall.
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Thailand: post-fire relief efforts underway in Mae Surin refugee camp
Bangkok, 26 March 2013 – A fire that swept through Mae Surin refugee camp in northern Thailand on Friday has been met with swift relief by NGOs and community-based organisations. According to JRS staff, 37 Burmese refugees and asylum seekers lost their lives and several thousands have been made homeless.
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Thailand: Migrant workers face continued hardship
Bangkok, 7 March 2013 — Last month Thailand's estimated two million irregular migrant workers were granted a four-month extension, until April 2013, to have their nationalities verified by their governments in order to register for Thai visas and work permits.
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Australia: Opposition asylum seeker proposals ignore the facts
Sydney, 1 March 2013 — Earlier this week a 21-year-old Sri Lankan asylum seeker was accused of sexually assaulting a student at Macquarie University in Sydney. Scott Morrison, the spokesman for the opposition Coalition (of political parties) in Australia, is using the event to criticise the current Labour government for allowing asylum seekers into the community instead of keeping them in detention.
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Cambodia: A boat without anchors
Phnom Penh, 20 February 2013 — Ethnic Vietnamese minority communities living in Cambodia appear to be stateless, says a report released by JRS Cambodia earlier this year.
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Thailand: Urban refugees remain invisible
Bangkok, 21 January 2013 — Increasing numbers of asylum seekers are arriving in Bangkok each year.
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Philippines: Laguna Lake residents weather the storm
Laguna Lake, 8 November 2012 — Communities around Laguna Lake, a 911 sq. km freshwater lake east of Metro Manila, continue to suffer flooding and displacement from a succession of tropical storms that hit the country this month, rounding off with Typhoon Ofel on 29 October.
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Q&A with landmine campaigner Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan
Asia Pacific, 5 November 2012 — Landmine ban activist Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan tells ICBL about his work in Myanmar (Burma) and his hopes for the heavily mine-affected country.
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Thailand: Iranian refugee finds hope
Bangkok, 26 October 2012 — Increasing suppression of religious and political rights in Iran has caused thousands to flee persecution seeking safety and freedom of conscience. There are currently more than 89,121 Iranian asylum claims worldwide, as of 2012, according to the UN Refugee Agency.
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Asia Pacific: Regional NGO workshop highlights need for alternatives to detention
Bangkok, 26 October 2012 — A meeting of forty NGOs from twelve different countries in Asia Pacific convened earlier this week to bolster movements towards alternative models to detention and the protection of vulnerable populations.
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London: Cluster Munition Monitor 2012 report released
Bangkok, 7 September 2012 (JRS) — The 2012 Cluster Munition Report for the Monitor, a research initiative that tracks the implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the Mine Ban treaty, was released on 6 September 2012, in London.
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Asia Pacific: NGOs urge governments to protect stateless people
Bangkok, 3 September 2012 — Jesuit Refugee Service and other humanitarian organisations are deeply concerned about Asia Pacific's stateless populations. Roughly 12 million people globally are deprived of rights to citizenship, access to education, health, and employment through statelessness.
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Australia: struggling to survive on an atoll
Bougainville, 30 August 2012 —The coming months will see the relocation of the first 40 families from the Carteret Islands onto the mainland of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea. This process has been closely followed by JRS Australia which, in cooperation with UN refugee agency (UNHCR) in Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea), designed a data-collection process to be used by the Autonomous Bougainville Government in this relocation process.
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Australia: tentative steps towards belonging
Sydney, 29 August 2012 — Eighteen unaccompanied minors have entered JRS’ Unaccompanied Minors project in Sydney since it opened in December 2010. The pioneering project, in which JRS, with its partner in this project, Marist Youth Care, became the first agency in Australia to house unaccompanied minors, has reaped a number of success stories.
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Australia: tragedy at Christmas Island
Christmas Island, 30 August 2012 — The Christmas Island community was struck with a deep grief last June when 90 asylum seekers drowned while trying to reach the island. More than 100 people survived the tragedy; Sr Dorothy Bayliss was there to provide pastoral support for them as part of the JRS programme on the island.
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Syria: local networks of solidarity and JRS helping displaced families
Amman, 20 July 2012 – Whilst other humanitarian agencies attempt to gain access to areas in Syria where emergency aid is most needed, the Jesuit Refugee Service is reaching out to thousands of internally displaced Syrians.
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Global: number of refugees benefiting from JRS services reaches new high
Rome, 17 July 2012 – The number of forcibly displaced persons benefiting from Jesuit Refugee Service work grew by approximately 10 percent in 2011, according to the figures published in the organisation's latest annual report. The latest increase brings the total number of beneficiaries to more than 700,000 for the first time in the 30 year history of JRS.
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Rohingya flee violence in Myanmar, Bangladesh turns them back
Bangkok, July 17, 2012 — Jesuit Refugee Service and other civil society organizations are deeply concerned by on-going violence against stateless Rohingya people in Myanmar and their refoulement from Bangladesh. In Myanmar, what began as inter-communal violence has evolved into large-scale state sponsored violence against the Rohingya, while Bangladesh closed its border and pushed back many Rohingya fleeing the violence and persecution in Myanmar.
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Australia: protecting people on the move
Sydney, 10 July 2012 – Jesuit Refugee Service Australia is making a key contribution to the way in which asylum seekers are treated as they transition through South East Asia on their way to Australia.
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Australia: a humane solution for asylum seekers
Sydney, 10 July 2012 – In a pleasant suburb of Sydney, in a place that once housed university students, thirteen Afghani men are trying to recapture some normalcy in their lives as they await the outcome of their asylum claims.
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Global: Jesuit Refugee Service joins international campaign to stop rape and gender violence in conflict
Rome, 28 June 2012 – Earlier this month, Jesuit Refugee Service officially signed on as a member of the latest civil society coalition, the International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict.
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Thailand: an ordinary game of cricket during extraordinary times
Bangkok, 25 June 2012 – To passers-by, Saturday's cricket match would have looked like any other. Excited cheers from spectators as the umpire shouts 'you're out', the crack of the ball against the willow bat as fielders dive to catch their opponents out. But this was no ordinary game. It was a game played with extraordinary passion by those who had not played for many years, denied the opportunity since leaving home in search of international protection.
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Asia Pacific: new research shows failings in protection in the region
Bangkok, 21 June, 2012 – This new research acts as a practical guide for those providing services to refugees in the region, refugees themselves and international advocates. After researching five countries and speaking to refugees, JRS will release this practical guide next month.
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Video: hospitality, united communities are stronger communities
Bangkok, 19 June 2012 – Bringing refugees out of obscurity, that is the message of the Jesuit Refugee Service for World Refugee Day this year.
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Thailand: 'Everybody's Challenge' translated into Thai
Bangkok, 19 June, 2012 – This book, gathering essential documents of the first 20 years of JRS, also serves to record this same step-by-step process, repeated by JRS workers over and again across the world during these past years. Moved with compassion at the plight of so many displaced people, Jesuit Refugee Service members, who are Jesuits, religious and lay people, have undertaken new initiatives, reflected anew on these experiences, and planned new actions. Each time, JRS calls again on a wide network of friends and companions to join in this service. As one JRS group reflected in 1985, We believe this call is not for ourselves alone.
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Cambodia: A simple man
Australia, 5 June, 2012 — Last week Fr Pierre Ceyrac SJ died in Chennai at the age of 98. He was one of the most remarkable Jesuits I have met. Several entries in Wikipedia refer to him, always as ‘the famous Pierre Ceyrac’. This epithet usually designates someone with a well-crafted public personality. Pierre was different. He was so totally transparent that he invited everyone he met into his inner self. That is why he became so widely known and loved.
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International: President Obama urged to join Mine Ban Treaty
(Washington, D.C.) April 19, 2012 — Leaders from 76 nongovernmental organizations including Jesuit Refugee Service/USA delivered a letter to President Obama urging the U.S. to relinquish antipersonnel landmines and join the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty without further delay.
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Australia: JRS launches new Residence Determination Project
Sydney, 30 April, 2012 – JRS Australia is in the throes of its biggest expansion ever, with the number of staff increasing threefold in response to the needs of its growing client base.
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Asia Pacific: JRS news briefs from the region
Asia Pacific, 30 April, 2010 – JRS Cambodia trains others in statelessness law; youth in Australia win refugee award; JRS implements its new strategic plan; JRS Asia Pacific teams up with Project Compassion to raise awareness of young people living on the Thai-Burma border.
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Thailand: bail offers hope for detained refugees
Bangkok, 18 April, 2012 – After living in Bangkok's Immigration Detention Centre for up to five years, some refugees are finding a way out with a new bail programme.
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International: JRS defines global approach to urban refugees
Bangkok, 30 March 2012 – To Berlin, Bogotá, Bangkok – UN statistics show that most refugees around the world are going to cities. But do they all face similar obstacles in their new host cities? Are there common approaches JRS can take to serve refugees living in urban areas? At a global consultation meeting held in Bangkok between 19 to 23 March, JRS staff from more than 25 countries gave a qualified yes to these questions.
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Cambodia: Award winners urge landmine ban
Cambodian campaigners Song Kosal and Sr Denise Coghlan say government must sign international treaties after winning an award in Seol, South Korea.
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USA: Expanding higher education at the margins
Denver, 7 March 2012 — Fr Peter Balleis, SJ, International Director of Jesuit Refugee Service, was one of several presenters offering initial remarks at the opening of the first international Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins (JC:HEM) conference at Regis University in Denver, Colorado.
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Asia Pacific: five wishes on International Women's Day
Bangkok, 7 March 2012 – Women live in vulnerable situations throughout the region from border camps to urban apartment blocks. Over the past year JRS has been collecting testimonies of women in the Asia Pacific. On this International Women’s Day, take a minute to read what they want for their futures and their families.
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International: JRS publishes Strategic Framework 2012-2015
Rome, 1 March 2012 – After extensive consultation throughout last year, today the Jesuit Refugee Service published its Strategic Framework for 2012-2015, outlining broad goals, values, strategies and expected outcomes for the next four years. The 24-page booklet seeks to provide an inspirational framework and set overarching strategies for all ten JRS regions to meet the challenges of working with refugees on the edges of humanity.
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International: workshop produces new communications plan
Rome, 28 February 2012 – A JRS workshop last week produced a new two-year plan to promote attention on refugee issues. The 2012-2014 communications plan is firmly rooted in the Strategic Framework, a document released in January outlining JRS values and strategies with a particular focus on the needs of refugees on the margins, quality education, interfaith dialogue and organisational unity.
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Philippines: super typhoon survivors turning debris to income
Mangayao Langgoyo, Philippines, 5 February, 2012 – Just a few weeks ago, the Kamanga riveushed down so hard and swept away the soil where the community mosque, solar drier, and 50 houses stood and changed the landscape. Meanwhile, families continue to collect stones and carefully sort the rocks from pebbles to make a living and begin rebuilding.
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Thailand: Bangkok’s refugees show themselves through their photos
Bangkok, 3 February 2012 – Four white walls became the canvas Saturday for seven asylum seekers to tell their stories. And once those walls were filled with nearly 50 photos, viewers began to get an understanding of their daily lives in Bangkok.
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International: JRS publishes Strategic Framework 2012-2015
Rome, 25 January 2012 – After extensive consultation throughout last year, today the Jesuit Refugee Service published its Strategic Framework for 2012-2015, outlining broad goals, values, strategies and expected outcomes for the next four years. The 24-page booklet seeks to provide an inspirational framework and set overarching strategies for all ten JRS regions to meet the challenges of working with refugees on the edges of humanity.
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Philippines: flash flood kills thousands
Mindanao, 28 December 2011 – The flashflood came like a thief in the night engulfing houses and villages along the river and sweeping all into the sea. More than a thousand have died with another thousand more missing. Some bodies were found floating along the islands further up the northern coast of Mindanao. In Cagayan de Oro, unclaimed bodies were buried as the stench became unbearable and contamination a risk. A week after the disaster, there is still no running water in the city.
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Indonesia: reaching out
Aceh, 9 December, 2011 – JRS’ work in Aceh, Indonesia comes to a close. Don Doll, SJ, shares his photos of our work there.
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Asia Pacific: our year at JRS
Asia Pacific, 9 December 2011 – As 2011 comes to a close, instead of offering specific project updates, below is an update on our work regionally. New projects beginning, others closing down and some are changing direction. JRS will look different in 2012.
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Thailand: job opportunity in Mae Hong Son
Bangkok, 2 December 2011 – JRS Thailand is looking for a teacher trainer to work in Mae Hong Son's two refugee camps. The position involves working closely with our partner, the Karenni Education Department (KnED) to implement educational services and provide training for primary, secondary, vocational, special education, curriculum development and management. The primary goal of JRS support is to ensure the continuity of education while simultaneously developing the capacity and self-sufficiency of refugee educators.
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Australia: finding a home outside detention
Sydney, 29 November 2011 – It was something that had never been done in Australia before: the relocation of young, unaccompanied asylum seekers from immigration detention centres to community-based detention. But when the Australian government decided to trial the relatively radical policy towards the end of last year, JRS put up its hand, and became the first agency to receive young refugees into its care.
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Cambodia: what we decide here affects the lives of people
Phnom Penh, 28 November, 2011 – In front of delegates from more than 100 countries Sr Denise Coghlan, RSM, director of JRS Cambodia, delivered opening remarks to the Eleventh Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty. In her remarks, she observed the work she and her team have done to ban landmines around the world over the past 20 years and reminded nations of their international obligation to protect their people.
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Asia Pacific: NGOs urge Asia Pacific governments to end the immigration detention of children
Kuala Lumpur, 26 November 2011 – States in Asia Pacific are increasingly using to detention as a first resort to manage irregular migration, even where there are no valid security concerns, according to a statement of 50 NGOs from 18 countries in a meeting held in Malaysia on Thursday and Friday.
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Asia Pacific: partnership with Erasmus Mundus kicks off refugee higher level education project
Bangkok, 19 November 2011 – Refugees and asylum seekers in Asia Pacific will have the opportunity to start a third-level education course certified by European universities in 2012, with support from the Academic Relations between Asia and Europe (AREaS) scholarship.
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Cambodia: unexploded devices found near school
Battambang (Cambodia), 9 November 2011 – More than 100 unexploded devices have been found near a small school in northwestern Cambodia.
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International: JRS urges states to uphold standards established by the Convention on Cluster Munitions
Rome, 9 November 2011 – The Jesuit Refugee Service expresses concern about the forthcoming review of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW). If the current protocol on cluster munitions is approved, it would sanction continued use of cluster munitions proven to cause unacceptable harm to civilians.
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Thailand: JRS response to the flood - a photo story
Bangkok, 08 November – Thailand has been experiencing its worst flood in decades. Two weeks ago the water hit Bangkok. While much of the city remains dry, plenty of the suburbs are underwater. Many of the people we serve are unable to leave Bangkok and JRS with other NGOs are trying to locate and assist those who remain in the city. Below is a reflection from Rufino Seva, JRS Urban Refugee Programme director about his work with flood relief.
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Thailand: flooding leaves thousands of migrants in limbo
Bangkok, 03 November 2011 – As the worst floods in a generation wreak havoc across Thailand, thousands of migrant workers fear losing their jobs and better prospects for the future.
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Papua New Guinea: bishop urges NGOs to highlight the plight of West Papuan refugees
Bangkok, 27 October 2011 – The Bishop of the Daru Kiunga Catholic diocese, Gilles Cote SMM, urged civil society groups to step up pressure on the Papua New Guinean government to improve the lives of West Papuan refugees and the local population living in the sparely populated southern western region bordering Indonesia.
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Thailand: building self-sufficiency, one community at a time
Thailand, 10 October, 2011 – The landlord in the field next door started burning sugar cane for the next planting season, and an ember caught fire on this land,” said U Maung Shwe who can no longer find work in construction since his tools were lost in a fire that destroyed four homes in the small Mae Ku community. “The homes are facing away from the fire, so by the time they noticed it, they had to run away.”
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Timor Leste: fishing for a future
Hera, Timor Leste, 29 Septmeber, 2011 – The JRS projects in Timor Leste might have a flowery future. With different communities coming up with livelihoods projects, some are opting to grow and sell flowers. Others are sewing, vegetable gardening, farming and fish raising.
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Asia Pacific: news briefs from the region
Asia Pacific, 10 September, 2011– Flooding in Mae Hong Son, Thailand; celebrations in Australia and stateless people around the region have been in the news in the past months.
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Thailand: JRS hiring for IDC and legal positions
The purpose of JRS’ program in the Immigration Detention Center is to provide practical assistance to detainees in the main detention center in Bangkok and a satellite center in a nearby province. It is unique in the type of services we provide and the access JRS has to assist the detainees. The Project Director is responsible for the medical clinic and the release program which assists detainees to return voluntarily to their home country.
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Asia Pacific: JRS Celebrates Afghanistan signing the Convention on Cluster Munitions
Beirut, Lebanon, 12 September 2011 – Afghanistan, which has witnessed the devastation cluster munitions cause, has become the 62nd state party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions on the eve of an international conference on the ban.
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Australia: newsletter reveals the disappointment of JRS
Sydney, 1 September, 2011 – 2010 marked the 30th anniversary of JRS. If annual reports are meant to showcase the success of an organisation, and to make a case for its continued existence, then 2010 must be marked down as yet another year of disappointment for JRS: we continue to exist when we would rather not. As Fr Peter Balleis SJ, the Director of JRS International, put it during his visit to Australia to commemorate the anniversary,‘It would be better if JRS didn’t exist’.
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Australia: Tampa 10 years on, refugees considered worse than criminals
Bangkok, 28 August 2011 – The key consequence of the Tampa crisis was a "fundamental shift" in the way refugees were regarded in Australian society, said Jesuit Refugee Service Australia Director, Aloysious Mowe SJ.
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International: An urgent appeal for Somalis
Jesuit Mission and JRS Australia have pledged their support for a famine appeal launched by the Jesuit Province of East Africa and JRS East Africa. The Eastern Africa Province’s Famine Relief Project hopes to raise desperately needed funds to assist the victims of a famine that has been triggered by the worst drought in half a century in the Horn of Africa.
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International: JRS publishes booklet on advocacy
Rome, 15 July 2011 – The Jesuit Refugee Service has issued its latest publication demonstrating how the organisation is involved in the empowerment of forcibly displaced persons, assisting them to gain access to the rights to which they are entitled.
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Indonesia: Finding ways to release stress in immigration detention
Medan, 18 July, 2011 – After just one year, the aerobics sessions, just one of many activities of the JRS Indonesia Immigration Detention Centre Project, has grown to include nearly all detainees, IDC staff and JRS field workers.
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Thailand: Growing a better life on the border
Mae Sot, 6 July, 2011 – Rotting pumpkins, sugar molasses and maggots float in red sludge creating a mixture that’s both pungent and prosperous. Surprisingly, this rotting liquid is the secret to growing a strong garden. Well, that and good weather, of course.
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Cambodia: university recognises the achievements of JRS landmine activist
Phnom Penh, 7 June 2011 – A landmine activist of the Jesuit Refugee Service Cambodia in the northern province of Siem Reap is to be awarded an honorary doctorate from the Seattle University at its graduation ceremony next week.
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Australia: Labor worse than Howard on asylum seekers
Sydney, 02 June 2011 – The design of the Labor Government policy on asylum seekers is now clear. Its overriding aim is to stop asylum seekers coming to Australia by boat. The regional solution is not a solution for the problems faced by refugees but for an Australian political problem. The despatch to Malaysia and Manus Island of people who arrive by boat is about deterrence.
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Thailand: JRS Thailand’s annual meeting focuses on creating self-sufficiency and independence
Bangkok, 09 May 2011 – JRS Thailand met this May for their annual meeting, where the 54-strong team reflected on the year’s work. Staff members spoke about changes made to projects over the course of the year and what new ideas were going to be implemented in 2011.
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Asia Pacific: ceasefire agreement ends fighting on Thai-Cambodian border
Rome, 29 April 2011 – Following intense negotiations between the Cambodian and Thai authorities, a ceasefire agreement has finally been reached, putting an end to week-long fighting on the disputed border.
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International: Condemnation of Thai use of cluster munitions in Cambodia
Geneva, 6 April 2011 – Based on two separate on-site investigations, the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) has concluded that Thailand used cluster munitions on Cambodian territory during the February 2011 border conflict. Thai officials confirmed the use of cluster munitions in a meeting with the CMC on 5 April.
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Philippines: Starting over
Mindanao, 6 April, 2011 – One JRS livelihoods project in the Philippines inspires hope to those who have been displaced for more than a decade. With funds for farming, some are able to start their lives over.
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Indonesia: Unable to rebuild
Yogyakarta, 6 April, 2011 – Six months after the initial eruption, Indonesia’s most active volcano still prevents people from returning to rebuild their homes and lives on its dangerous slopes. After the initial shock of more than 100,000 people losing their homes, JRS responded to the aftershock: cold lava.
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International: Number of asylum seekers almost halved in 10 years
Geneva, 28 March 2011 – New figures compiled by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) have shown a dramatic fall in the number of asylum seekers in industrialised countries over the last decade.
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Japan: A message of solidarity
Japan, 22 March, 2011 -- Almost 2 weeks have passed since the terrible earthquakes and Tsunami that have brought so much destruction and anxieties to various provinces of the North East of Japan, mainly Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima.
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Thailand: Shan and Lahu children face risks in northern Thailand
Bangkok, 10 March 2011 – Growing up in the Shan area of Northern Thailand is not easy. Without legal papers, work is hard to find, so from birth many are resigned to a life of – at best – manual field labour, or – at worst – drug trafficking, prostitution or prison.
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Australia: In service of others
Sydney, March 11, 2011 -- "If you found yourself in the footsteps of an asylum seeker, how would you like to be treated yourselves? What kind of welcome would you like to receive?" This is the question asked of school students around Australia as they prepare to enter the annual Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Youth Award, an event held with the aim of raising awareness of the plight of refugees and stimulating debate around asylum seeker policy.
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Cambodia: NGOs concerned for the fate of asylum seekers
Phnom Penh, 28 February 2011– Following the closure of the centre managed by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) on 15 February, human rights organisations have called on the Cambodian government to ensure it offers protection to asylum seekers.
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Thailand: Shan refugees eking out a living
Bangkok, 10 February 2011 – Despite being forced to flee their homeland, more than 130 Burmese refugee families live in a temporary shelter in the hills on the northern Thai border.
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Australia: Report criticises lack of safety measures for border surveillance
Sydney, 24 January 2010 – After finding the authorities had no advance warning of the arrival of boats of migrants and refugees in distress, an internal customs investigation has recommended the installation of land-based radar at Australia's remote Christmas Island.
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Thailand: Ahmadi asylum seekers trapped in detention
Bangkok, 18 January 2011 - Ahmadi asylum seekers from Pakistan have lost a great deal. Religious persecution in their country has driven them from their homes, family, and careers to a place that offers little in the way of protection. Despite facing arrest and detention they never lose their dignity and resilience.
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Thailand: Resettlement makes training teachers a challenege
Mae Hong Son, 18 December, 2010 -- With thousands of people resettled a year and new people arriving in the Mae Hong Son camps regularly, retaining and constantly training new staff are almost impossible tasks.
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Philippines: Struggle to be heard
Manila,13 January 2011 – If you are a person displaced by the Moro conflict in southern Philippines, chances are you not only struggle to survive but also to be heard.
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Australia: The new 'boat people'
Sydney, 12 January, 2011 - The Director of Jesuit Refugee Service International, Fr Peter Balleis SJ, has called on Australia to live up to its reputation as a tolerant and multi-cultural nation by showing compassion to boat people, who are "the most desperate and poor of all refugees."
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Australia: JRS Australia offers chapters to two books
How do we reconceptualise the definition of a refugee, and ascertain what services are needed in a world reconfigured by conflict and environmental degradation?
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Australia: JRS opens new refugee shelter
For the first time ever, Jesuit Refugee Service Australia will be able to accommodate entire refugee families after opening its latest shelter, a former boarding house in the Sydney beachside suburb of Manly.
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Cambodia: JRS pays tribute to much loved co-worker
Rome, 22 December 2010 – Former long-term JRS member and survivor of the Cambodian genocide, Sr Marie Jeanne Ath, a Sister of Providence, passed away peacefully in Nancy, close to her congregation's mother house at Portieux, northeastern France.
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Australia: Tragedy proves that refugees are human too
Sydney, 16 December 2010 – JRS Australia Director, Sacha Bermudez-Goldman SJ, says the Christmas Island tragedy in which at least 28 asylum seekers were killed yesterday should drive home the fact that refugees are human beings rather than inconvenient statistics, and that they risk their lives constantly in search of a safe future.
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Thailand: Influx of people fleeing violence in Burma continues
Bangkok, 16 December 2010 – The Thai-Burma border has become a site of international concern as fighting continues along the border in Karen state between the Burmese military and insurgent group, the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA).
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Cambodia: One year without answers
Bangkok, 16 December 2010 – As the one-year anniversary approaches, JRS remembers the Uighur asylum seekers that we came to know well, and again we ask the question: what happened to them? What happened to the pregnant mother and her two children? What happened to the man who had already escaped years of torture at the hands of the Chinese authorities? What happened to each individual who was trying to start a new life in a safe country?
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International: landmine ban makes gains, but serious concerns remain
Geneva, 3 December 2010 – Dozens of countries reported impressive progress in banning antipersonnel mines, clearing mined areas, and assisting victims of the weapon during a week-long meeting of the 1997 landmine ban treaty in Geneva, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), of which JRS is a founding member, said today.
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Indonesia: JRS supports thousands displaced by volcano eruptions
Yogyakarta, 22 November 2010 – Eruptions of the volcano Mount Merapi led to the death of approximately 260 people and caused the displacement of nearly 400,000 others.
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Cambodia: Landmine kills 14 in the northwest
Washington DC, 18 November 2010 – A homemade truck ran over a landmine in Cambodia Tuesday killing 14 people – including a 6-month-old infant, police said. The incident occurred in Battambang province in northwestern Cambodia. The local chief of police said in addition to the infant the dead included eight women and five men.
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Thailand: JRS responds to the influx of people fleeing violence in Burma
Bangkok, 11 November 2010 – An estimated 20,000 people have fled to Thailand since conflict broke out between government forces and the fifth brigade of the ethnic Karen rebel group, the DKBA. Fighting began on Monday morning 8 November in the southeastern border town of Myawaddy, less than a day after election polls opened in the military controlled region.
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Australia: JRS welcomes government move on detention
Sydney, 18 October 2010 – JRS Australia has welcomed the announcement by the government that it intends to move children and vulnerable families from detention into community-based accommodation.
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Australia: Outsourcing asylum not the solution
Sydney, 12 October 2010 – JRS questioned the construction of regional processing centres for refugees as the sole answer to the rising number of asylum seekers coming to the Asia Pacific region.
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Cambodia: Women’s group provides friendship, support and skills to urban refugees in Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh, 26 August 2010 – Le Thi Hong, an asylum seeker from Vietnam, teaches the basics of giving manicures and pedicures to a small group of asylum seekers and refugee women at the JRS office.
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Thailand: JRS helps establish community centre
Bangkok, 26 August 2010 – At the beginning of the month, a group of ethnic Ahmadi asylum seekers finally opened the doors of their new community centre in the outskirts of Bangkok. The new centre is the result of a partnership between JRS and Ahmadi asylum seekers from Pakistan.
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Thailand: Convention on Cluster Munitions becomes binding international law
Bangkok, 1 August 2010 - On the 1st of August the Convention on Cluster Munitions came into force, becoming binding international law in 107 countries around the world.
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Cambodia: Bombs out! Balloons in!
Tuktuks gaily decorated with balloons and Ban Cluster Bomb banners rode around Angkor Wat carrying cluster bomb survivors on 1st August 2010. They were celebrating the entry into force of the Convention to ban Cluster Munitions. Led by Tun Channareth in his wheelchair they handed out leaflets explaining the law and gathering signatures of support.
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Cambodia: Celebrating world refugee day with a football game
Phnom Penh, July 2010 - Undeterred by the storm clouds gathering ominously over Phnom Penh, over 80 urban refugees and asylum seekers clamoured into the back of JRS vehicles and luckily for most, were able to reach Don Bosco vocational school in Phnom Penh Thmey for a World Refugee Day soccer match before the monsoon rains hit.
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Thailand: JRS meets director of Mine Action Centre
Bangkok, 3 August 2010 – On the 3rd of August Ban Landmine Campaigners from JRS Asia Pacific met with new Director of Thailand Mine Action Center (TMAC), Major General Ong-ard Ratanawichai.
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Cambodia: Refugee agreement fails asylum seekers
On 20 December, human rights organisations criticised the Cambodian government decision to deport 20 ethnic Uighur Chinese asylum seekers despite a barrage of protests from the international community.
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