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Video: united communities are stronger communities
June 26, 2012

Video: united communities are stronger communities
An indigenous community along the Rio Calima was forced to flee en masse to nearby Buenaventura, Colombia last year when armed groups threatened. Earlier this year they were able to return to their village. (Christian Fuchs — Jesuit Refugee Service/USA)
"The populations of host countries generally have little contact with refugees and other forced migrants. Their opinions are largely shaped by political and civil society leaders. If governments took a more positive approach to forced migration, it is likely we would see the beginning of a reversal of the current levels of hostility and exclusion of refugees," said JRS International Director Peter Balleis S.J.

(Rome) June 26, 2012 — In the midst of economic crisis, the fragile value of hospitality ought to be nurtured. Shrinking economic opportunities are placing greater burden on overstretched social support networks, fueling intolerance. A clear example is the success of political populism that places xenophobic rhetoric at the center of everyday public discourse. Instead of describing refugees as courageous survivors rebuilding their lives in safety, politicians turn to simplistic and misleading labels, which demonize refugees for societal ills. This constant dehumanization and hostility marginalizes refugees even further.

"The populations of host countries generally have little contact with refugees and other forced migrants. Their opinions are largely shaped by political and civil society leaders. If governments took a more positive approach to forced migration, it is likely we would see the beginning of a reversal of the current levels of hostility and exclusion of refugees," said JRS International Director Peter Balleis S.J.

Jesuit Refugee Service has a simple message: encourage hospitality and cooperation. Hospitality is a door that opens the way to other possibilities, such as access to rights and services. Refugees have human resources, skills and energy. It's important to let them do something for their new communities. Governments would do well to follow these examples of solidarity, rather than seek short-term solutions, creating further problems for the future," said Fr. Balleis.

In this five minute video, four regional directors from JRS explain the importance of hospitality for refugees. In contrast to the often hostile approaches by governments to migration and asylum, people across the world individually and collectively respond to the needs of refugees, and refugees to the needs of host communities.


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On the JRS International Website — Hospitality: bringing refugees out of obscurity

Press Contact Information
Mr Christian Fuchs
communications@jrsusa.org
202-462-0400 ext. 5946