World Refugee Day 2016: Open minds, Unlock Potential
15 June 2016

World Refugee Day celebrations in Pretoria last year. (Samson Ogunyemi/Jesuit Refugee Service)
“When I hear people use the word ‘refugee’ or ‘foreigner’, it just makes me realise then, how people won’t accept me for who I am. They know I’m a refugee, but they make it sound like a bad thing,” said Valerie, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo in South Africa.

Rome, 15 June 2016 – This World Refugee Day, the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) calls upon all of us not only to provide refugees with a safe place to stay, but with opportunities to grow and contribute to society. To truly protect means keeping people safe from all evils, including poverty, isolation, exploitation, misconception and neglect. For this reason, this year JRS is using the theme Open minds, unlock potential.

 

On 19 April, in a video message, Pope Francis told JRS to continue walking with refugees. On 20 June, JRS will be releasing a short video with the words of Pope Francis and of refugees worldwide telling – in their words – what being a refugee actually means.

 

“When I hear people use the word ‘refugee’ or ‘foreigner’, it just makes me realise then, how people won’t accept me for who I am. They know I’m a refugee, but they make it sound like a bad thing,” said Valerie, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo in South Africa.

 

We must genuinely open ourselves, our minds and our communities to unlock our potential as a society. On this day, for this Jubilee year, let’s take the opportunity to mobilise our compassion and put our mercy in motion.

 

For more information

Jacquelyn Pavilon, JRS International Communications Coordinator, Jacquelyn.Pavilon@jrs.net; +39 06 698 68 609 / +39 348 993 1544; Skype: jacquelyn.pavilon

In South Africa:

Johannesburg, 15 June 2016 - The Jesuit Refugee Service in South Africa, in partnership with a number of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), faith based organisations (FBOs), refugee-, asylum seeker-, migrant- and local communities along with the Department of Home Affairs, will be having a number of activities in commemoration of World Refugee Day, from the 12th June to World Refugee Day, the 20th June 2016.

This group of organisations, as part of their World Refugee Day commemorations will be adopting the UNHCR global theme, “We Stand Together #WithRefugees”. In showing our support to the children, men, women and families forced to flee their home countries. During the event participants will sign the big banner on We Stand Together #WithRefugees petition. This pledge will be officially handed over to the UNHCR SA Country Representative and Home Affairs Minister for them to deliver to the UN headquarters in New York ahead of the UN General Assembly on September 19. Participants will also be offered an opportunity to interact with the Home Affairs, UNHCR and Civil Society Representatives.

The event will be open for refugees, asylum seekers, South African and migrants communities including Civil Society Representatives.

The event will take place at Catholic Archdiocese of Johnnesburg, 186 Nugget Street, in Johannesburg and the speakers would include, amongst others a Keynote Address by the Minister of Home Affairs – Honourable Malusi Gigaba, UNHCR Regional Representative- Mr. George Kuchio and speakers from the refugee community. The event will take place on Monday the 20th June 2016 and start at 10:00 AM and will end at 13:30 PM.

 

Leading up to World Refugee Day, on the 19th of June 2016, Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church, 9 Fifth Street, La Rochelle, a suburb in Johannesburg, will be hosting a full day of events from 10:00 AM to 14:30 PM. JRS South Africa’s Country Director, Johan Viljoen will be there along with Sister Maria de Lurdes from Pastoral Care, Father Ivaldo – Vicar for Pastoral Care as well as Sister Kadia Prigol from Bienvenu Shelter. The three of them spoke to JRS on the JRS Radio Slot on Radio Veritas, on Monday, 13th June 2016, along with Samson Ogunyemi, JRS South Africa Advocacy Officer, telling us what these days of commemoration will entail. The podcast of the conversation follows:








Press Contact Information
Gushwell F. Brooks
gushwell.brooks@jrs.net
+27 11 618 3404