Looking for an integrated response to vulnerable migrants in and out of Africa
28 January 2020
Brussels, 28 January 2020 – The challenge of migration of forced displaced people in Africa is not new at all. For the last thirty years JRS has been present in all the major humanitarian crisis in the continent that lead to millions of displaced people to flee their homes. In the last years, also, the African Church and the Jesuits are becoming more aware of the intense movement of internal migration inside the continent.
With this background the African Jesuit Justice and Ecology Network (JENA) organized the “International Strategic Conference on Migrants and Refugees” in Nairobi, Kenya from 20 to 22 January 2020. It brought together social centers, Jesuit Refugee Service, universities, Lead Magis (youth network), Church institutions and partners in mission from Europe
The participants committed to welcome, protect, promote and seek the integration of vulnerable migrants and to be especially attentive to those suffering discrimination because of gender, age and disability.
According to Fr. Garcia, Regional Director of JRS Europe, “the Conference has been a privileged opportunity to know better the diversity of human displacement inside Africa and outside the continent. Violence, poverty, lack of respect of human rights and climate impacts are the root causes of these displacements, the category of ‘vulnerable migrants’ frame very well the reality that goes from the lack of opportunities to human trafficking, passing by war and violence. Vulnerability is the lens to understand the human reality.”
The objectives of the conference were to complete a mapping of the Jesuit ministry to vulnerable migrants in Africa, to develop strategies for the coordination of the Jesuit Migrants and Refugees ministries in Africa and to develop strategies for international institutional collaboration among the Jesuit ministries in Africa and Europe.
During the conference, presenters took the stage to highlight the big political, social and economic challenges faced by vulnerable migrants in different regions of Africa. It included a mapping exercise among the participants followed by group discussions that brought participants to a space of collaboration.
The conference identified several clusters of collaboration, linked to the apostolic fields they are already involved (JRS in Africa, academics, youth, Church organizations and the partners from Europe), as well as defined a simple network structure for tracking the results of the conference.
About the Jesuits Justice and Ecology Network (JENA)
The Jesuits Justice Ecology Network Africa (JENA) is a diverse community of faith-inspired Jesuit NGOs, also known as Social Centres, related Jesuit Institutions, individual Jesuit peace and development activists and scholars driven by a vision of a just, poverty-free, peaceful and ecologically regenerative Africa. JENA operates under the aegis of the Justice and Ecology Office of the Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar (JCAM).
Violence, poverty, lack of respect of human rights and climate impacts are the root causes of these displacements, the category of ‘vulnerable migrants’ frame very well the reality that goes from the lack of opportunities to human trafficking, passing by war and violence.