JRS Middle East
JRS Middle East and North Africa
In the Middle East and North Africa, JRS began its work five years ago in response to the huge number of Iraqi refugees fleeing the conflict in their country. Encouraged by the Jesuit Superior General, Adolfo Nicolás SJ, JRS went to Syria and Jordan in 2008. The following year saw expansion to Turkey, both a destination and major crossroads for refugees hoping to reach Europe or awaiting resettlement. In Turkey, JRS reaches refugees and asylum seekers from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Sudan. Following the violent events in Syria from 2011 onwards, JRS now provides emergency relief to Syrians both inside Syria, and in neighboring countries, including Lebanon most recently. Perhaps the most obvious challenge facing JRS, a faith-based organization, is that religion plays such a significant role in the Middle East, often as a mark of difference, exploited to spark conflict. Bringing people together is not easy in such a scenario. The JRS teams are composed of people of different faiths, of national staff and international volunteers, who serve all without distinction.