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Jesuit Refugee Service blames war for refugee crisis

The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) has issued a statement arguing that war remains the main cause of forced migration, with armed conflict - often within national borders - and human rights violations pushing ever increasing numbers of people to leave their homes.

In its statement for yesterday's World Refugee Day, the Rome-based non-government organisation highlighted the urgent needs of an estimated 50 million forcibly displaced people worldwide. It called on states to honour their commitment under the Geneva Convention to protect them.

"The international community must protect and defend the rights of refugees, many of whom are vulnerable to exploitation by human traffickers around the world," said JRS International director Fr Lluís Magriņā.

A major cause for concern is the growing tendency of states to move away from traditional hospitality to asylum seekers and refugees. There is a danger that anti-illegal migration measures, in developed countries, prevent people who are fleeing persecution from having access to territory in which to claim asylum. Even long-term refugees are facing intensified animosity in host countries, and some are threatened by forced repatriation. JRS urges states to safeguard the fundamental right to asylum.

"It is against human rights to repatriate any person without conditions of security and protection in their home country," stressed Fr Magriņā.

The JRS statement also emphasises the plight of around 25 million internally displaced people who are "particularly vulnerable" as there is no single agency mandated to support them.

JRS works in over 50 countries to "accompany, serve and plead the cause" of forcibly displaced people.

The statement is available on the JRS website.