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Jesuit Refugee Service/USA Shines a Spotlight on The Issues
Welcome to Jesuit Refugee Service/USA's Spotlight on the Issues. In this section we present analysis of various issues of concern to JRS.
Spotlight on the United Nations Summit
Tuesday, August 09, 2016
(Washington, D.C.) August 9, 2016 — Prompted by concern for the increased numbers of refugees and migrants in the world, and the humanitarian crisis that has resulted from the widespread failure of the international community to respond to their needs compassionately, the United Nations will convene high level meetings in September.

Education in emergencies & protracted crises
Thursday, February 04, 2016
(Washington, D.C.) February 4, 2016 — The Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies — of which Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is a member — is leading a global consultation to facilitate dialogue and collect inputs to strengthen the response to education in emergencies and protracted crises. JRS operates education programs in 36 countries, and considers education a life-saving intervention.

Spotlight on legal challenges facing asylum seekers
Monday, July 13, 2015
(Washington, D.C.) July 13, 2015 — In recent years, an increasing number of Central Americans have migrated north to the United States, reaching peak numbers in the summer of 2014. Of particular concern has been the increase in the number of unaccompanied and separated migrant children from the Northern Triangle of Central America — Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

Spotlight on refugee protection issues in Kenya
Monday, June 08, 2015
(Nairobi) June 8, 2015 — Amina, a 23 year old refugee, was taking care of her cousins in Nairobi when in the middle of the night police forcibly entered the apartment without a warrant. Still in their pajamas, Amina, her friend and two young children were forced into a truck with 66 other refugees, as well as Somali-Kenyans. Those who resisted — including a 12-year-old — were beaten with batons.

Spotlight on famine crisis in South Sudan
Wednesday, August 06, 2014
(Washington, D.C.) August 6, 2014 — Whether the severe humanitarian food crisis in South Sudan is a "phase four humanitarian emergency" or a "phase five famine" does not matter much to the 1.6 million South Sudanese who have been displaced by the political and ethnic firestorm that has torn the world's newest country apart since last December.

Spotlight on increased migration from Central America
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
(Washington, D.C.) July 9, 2014 — Migration from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras has risen steadily as violence in the region has increased. Although this movement constitutes a mixed flow, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is particularly concerned about the increased presence of three sub-groups: unaccompanied children, asylum-seekers, and women traveling with very young children.

Spotlight on Statelessness in the Dominican Republic
Monday, December 02, 2013
(Washington, D.C.) December 2, 2013 — In September the Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic issued a ruling which affirmed the discriminatory and arbitrary denial of nationality to Dominicans of foreign descent which Jesuit Refugee Service/USA and our partners in the Dominican Republic have long worked to change.

Spotlight on immigration policy
Thursday, February 14, 2013
(Washington, D.C.) February 14, 2013 — 'Documented Failures: the Consequences of Immigration Policy on the U.S. — Mexico Border' presents systematic documentation of the experiences of migrant women, men and children repatriated from the United States to cities along Mexico's northern border, with particular emphasis on the Nogales, Arizona/Nogales, Sonora, Mexico area.

Spotlight: Peace negotiations in Colombia bring hope to refugees
Sunday, October 07, 2012
(Bogota) September 21, 2012 – Hope breathes in Colombia after decades of open confrontation between armed groups. For years, victims displaced by the Colombian conflict have longed to return to their homeland. With peace talks starting between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and the government that hope may finally be realized.

Spotlight on Colombian Refugees in Panama and Ecuador
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
(Washington, D.C.) March 23, 2011 — The plight of Colombian refugees and displaced persons is arguably the most persistent humanitarian crisis in the Western Hemisphere. While many policy makers are aware that Colombia’s nearly 50-year-long armed conflict between guerillas, paramilitaries and the Colombian armed forces has resulted in the targeted persecution and displacement of more than four million Colombians in the last two decades, the spill-over effects of the conflict and the growing refugee crisis in the region has received little attention from the international community.

Spotlight on Secure Communities
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
The Nation’s Capital may become the first jurisdiction to reject the “Secure Communities” program, a federal government program in which local law enforcement would share booking information with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). District of Columbia City Council members Phil Mendelson and Jim Graham introduced Bill 17-895 – with the unanimous support of the council – highlighting concerns that the Secure Communities program creates a rift between immigrant communities and local law enforcement officials. While the immigration status of those convicted of crimes will remain accessible to federal agencies, the bill would prohibit the sharing of arrest and booking information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a division of DHS.

Spotlight on Southern Sudan: June 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
Until recently, most Southern Sudanese had known nothing except war. After a generation of civil war, the five years since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005 have allowed the Southern Sudanese to experience the tangible benefits of peace. In that time, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees estimates 320,000 refugees and 50,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) have returned home. Peace has brought marked improvement in education, health, and sanitation. Jesuit Refugee Service has contributed to this development by building schools, supporting teacher training, providing school supplies, and encouraging the education of girls.

Spotlight on Colombian refugees in legal limbo in Panama
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
Refugees who have fled from the on–going conflict in Colombia to the neighboring country of Panama find themselves lost in a legal limbo. Granted Temporary Humanitarian Protection, they are not permitted the legal and social benefits afforded to refugees under the 1951 Refugee Convention, which is supposed to define who is a refugee, their rights and the legal obligations of states.

Spotlight on Iraq
Sunday, June 07, 2009
Bringing the Iraqi refugees home must also be a mission in which the United States supports the Government of Iraq, by helping to create the conditions under which people can choose to return voluntarily, and in dignity to conditions that will allow them to rebuild their lives and contribute to the future of their homeland. This will require a sustained commitment, both to maintain the level of assistance that will encourage the governments of the region to continue patiently to bear the burden that Iraqi refugees place on their communities, and to make the logistical and legal arrangements and provide the level of aid needed to facilitate an orderly and sustainable return.

Spotlight on South Africa and Zimbabwean Refugees
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Limpopo project is located in Makhado, South Africa, a small town about 45 miles south of the Zimbabwe border and the South African town of Messina. We are on the outskirts of Makhado, located in a converted one-story warehouse, among blocks of industrial buildings (fuel depots, grain mills, machine shops, slaughter houses, scrap yards etc.). We see 100-150 Zimbabwean refugees daily, all on their way to somewhere in South Africa, all choosing to flee their tortured country.

Spotlight on Congolese Asylum Seekers
Friday, November 07, 2008
A refugee recalls:  "Being born in North Kivu has become the principle reason for having to run for my life. Yesterday I was a refugee in Burundi, today in Uganda, tomorrow in Rwanda. I no longer have a family. My wife was raped to death, my daughters turned into sex slaves for rebels, and worse still, my own sons were abducted to later attack me as rebels."

Spotlight on Chad
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Eastern Chad increasingly resembles a mosaic of antagonistic ethnic groups, with rivalries that can use any excuse to dissolve into a bloody tangle.  Take, for example, clashes between the Mouro and the Dadjo tribes in the city of Kerfi this July, fueled by accusations that the latter was snatching up the jobs that humanitarian nongovernmental organizations bring to the region.

Spotlight on the Refugee Food Crisis
Friday, July 18, 2008
For many refugees, breaks in the food pipeline have consequences that go far beyond the suffering caused by mere hunger, as terrible as that can be. Refugees are too often confined to camps and not allowed to seek jobs or to grow food to feed their families. Such refugees, who may be "warehoused" in a camp setting for a decade or more, are often totally dependent on international food aid for their survival. Food rations are shockingly limited in both amount and in variety, often lacking in the nutrients necessary for good health.

Spotlight on Southern Sudan: March 2008
Friday, March 28, 2008
The signing of the Comprehensive Peach Agreement between the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) and the government of Sudan in January 2005 ending more than twenty years of civil war has at last allowed the return of substantial numbers of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDP) to their homelands. As of this week, UNHCR announced that 100,000 refugees have been assisted to return. Since January, UNHCR has more than tripled the weekly rate of assisted repatriation, with movements of up to 6,000 persons per week planned for later this spring.