Forced Migrants and Urban Refugees
Documentation, Program Development and Networking with Jesuit Refugee Services, led by Professor David Hollenbach and Professor Maryanne Loughry
The iconic image of refugees is row upon row of white tents in a sprawling emergency camp. But the reality is that only one-third of the world's 10.5 million refugees now live in camps. Like 3.3 billion other people on Earth, they have been steadily moving to cities and towns, a trend that has accelerated since the 1950s.’ UNHCR 2012
The reality of refugees now living in urban settings has presented many challenges refugee agencies in recent years. Jesuit Refugee Service has traditionally had most of its programs based in refugee camps. However, in the 1990s JRS did begin to develop a few urban refugee programs in cities like Kampala and Johannesburg. Today many of Jesuit Refugee Service’s programs are in large cities: Rome, Nairobi, Amman, Bangkok to name a few.
Boston College is working with Jesuit Refugee Service as JRS develops guiding principles for meeting the challenges faced by urban refugees. The Centre for Human Rights and International Justice in conjunction with the Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW) is documenting and evaluating JRS’s Livelihood Program in Johannesburg. BC has also compiled a comprehensive bibliography of relevant literature on urban refugees. In the future the project will provide deeper reflection on the social and ethical issues confronting refugee agencies as they develop best practices for responding to the needs of urban refugees.