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A message of joy in the midst of fear
December 25, 2011

A message of joy in the midst of fear
Peace is our deep desire for the forcibly displaced persons in eastern Congo and elsewhere in the world. Peace is our wish for all you who with JRS, accompany the displaced, serving them and advocating for their rights to protection.

Peter Balleis, S.J.
Jesuit Refugee Service International Director

(Rome) December 25, 2011 — "I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people. Today unto us a child is born; he is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2, 10-11).

What can these words mean for Nyrana, an internally displaced woman living in Mweso camp in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo?

"People continue to arrive in the camp fleeing rape, robbery and all sorts of violence. But life here is not easy. Women leave the camp to work in the fields. But they earn almost nothing and constantly risk being raped by soldiers, rebels, or local men. Even though we fled our village because of insecurity, we continue to feel insecure here," said Nyrana.

"Soldiers often come into the camps, even if they're not supposed to. Their presence doesn't reassure us, since they're often violent, obliging men, women and children to carry heavy military equipment from one post to another. If they refuse, they're beaten and tortured. We need the Congolese authorities and the international community to protect our human rights, or at least our security," added Nyrana.

What news of great joy can be brought to Nyrana, to all those who struggle to survive with little hope for protection? And to us, who struggle to understand the complexities of this world, the evil in so many parts of the planet? How can we better serve our brothers and sisters?

Despite this painful reality, there's joy and hope in the eyes of this young mother, Nyrana. She is taking part in a JRS-training course in Masisi in eastern Congo. JRS gives preferential attention to women in this volatile region plagued by sexual violence. Unto us her child is born, and we share her hope the child will grow up in a peaceful country.

Peace is our deep desire for the forcibly displaced persons in eastern Congo and elsewhere in the world. Peace is our wish for all you who with JRS, accompany the displaced, serving them and advocating for their rights to protection.



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