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40 Years of Accompaniment

Fr Pedro Arrupe saw refugees on boats, risking their lives, crossing dangerous waters in small, unstable vessels – his brothers and sisters who had no choice but to flee. His heart was moved by these “boat people” fleeing from war in Vietnam and he felt compelled to respond. Fr. Arrupe, then Superior General of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), called on his Jesuit brothers around the world to respond to all refugees and forcibly displaced people. This was the start of Jesuit Refugee Service in 1980.

Since 1980, JRS has been accompanying, serving, and advocating for refugees and displaced people. It has been a road filled with shared sorrow and pain, but also reconciliation and joy.

Unfortunately, the journey is not over after 40 years. In fact, the needs continue to grow, with more than 82 million people forcibly displaced in this world.

“Home is where we all begin, and what we want all people to find”

History of JRS Asia Pacific


Fr Ceyrac worked between 1980 and 1993 in the Thai-Cambodia border camps.


Tun Channareth first met JRS in the Khmer refugee camps.


The first regional director, Fr Mark Raper, 1982-1989


The first regional meeting. JRS gathered at Xavier Hall, Jesuit community in Bangkok.


Thissa from Sri Lanka completed his degree in Bangkok.


JRS started working with refugees from Myanmar at the Thai-Myanmar border


JRS established a presence in East Timor and West Timor.


JRS started to reach out to non-camp refugees in Mae Sot, Wieng Heng, and Ranong.


Earthquake and Tsunami destroyed Aceh and North Sumatra, Indonesia.

April 7

Emilie Ketudat and Viboonrat received award on the Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in…


JRS served asylum seekers and refugees in Immigration Detention Centre.


Celebrate the Convention to Ban Cluster Munitions coming into force.


JRS delivered the relief aids to asylum seekers, refugees, migrants and Thai citizens in Bangkok.
The struggle of daily life is etched on this young Filippino girl's face. (Photo: JRSAP)


JRS started work with conflict IDPs in Mindanao, Southern Philippines.


The fire blazed through Ban Mae Surin refugee camp in northern Thailand.


Ministry of Interior, Thailand, acknowledged the commitment of JRS to refugees.


Louie Bacomo was appointed as Regional Director, the first non-Jesuit to take the post following…


Bishop Bernard of Penang with JRS and the New Thessalonian Apostolate (NTA) teams.


Welcoming Rohingya refugees in solidarity and compassion with people of Aceh, Indonesia.


JRS Singapore registered as a Charity in August 2020.
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