We are advocating for a dignified and fair legislative practice at European level in order to ensure protection and a possibility of inclusion in our society for forcibly displaced persons.
An important part of the Jesuit Refugee Service’s (JRS) mission is to defend the human rights of refugees and forcibly displaced persons. We are advocating for a dignified and just legislative practice at European level to ensure protection and a possibility of inclusion in our society for forcibly displaced persons.
All JRS European offices are striving to achieve this goal and are therefore closely cooperating to keep track of the most pressing problems refugees in Europe face. By using mutual knowledge and experience, the European offices directly inform national representatives in the European Union and other institutions involved in matters regarding refugees and forcibly displaced persons about the problems those people face.
We monitor carefully how, for example, at the national level the European rules on refugee retention are being implemented, and we forward our findings and observations to the European Commission. We issue reports to the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) on the on-going events in the field, and our reports are then used for further scrutiny and surveillance. We also communicate directly with the European Border Agency, Frontex, as members of their advisory forum on fundamental rights.
We systematically explore the shortcomings of legal and social protection of refugees. Our research is the foundation of all legislative change proposals that are based not only on our presence among refugees but also on our detailed analysis of key issues.
Detention should be an exception and the last possibility.
Almost all JRS offices in Europe visit asylum seekers and refugees in detention centres. In Croatia, it is the Detention Centre for Foreigners Ježevo. Our staff and volunteers provide them with legal and social assistance, pastoral care and a “shoulder to cry on”. During our visits to reception centres, we talk to as many people as possible, note the key issues they face and transmit them to the staff in order to address as many of these issues as possible. We observe the living conditions in reception centres, whether the refugee centre staff is communicating in a dignified manner and whether the needs of people are fully met. The JRS uses the experiences of visits to inform the legislators and use the opportunity to advocate the adoption of better European regulations that protect people from the worst effects of detention.
We believe that asylum seekers should not be detained. The detention of refugees who are forcibly displaced from their homeland should only be resorted to after all other less forceful alternatives have proven ineffective. Families and children, as well as unaccompanied minors, should never be kept in custody. People in detention should have access to free legal aid and have to be enabled to communicate with loved ones who are not in custody. The duration of detention should be as short as possible.