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The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) is an international Catholic organization with a mission to accompany, serve, and advocate on behalf of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons so that they may heal, learn, and determine their own future, inspired by Jesus Christ’s generous love and example.

Fr Pedro Arrupe SJ, then Superior General of the Society of Jesus, founded JRS in November 1980 in response to the plight of Vietnamese refugees fleeing their war-torn homeland.

Hundreds of thousands of South Vietnamese fled their homes after the Vietnam War ended in 1975, setting out in overcrowded boats across the South China Sea. Many people died on the way, either as a result of pirate attacks or drowning due to storms and rough seas. Fr. Arrupe was compelled to take action. He urged the Jesuits to "at least provide some relief in such a tragic situation."

JRS was officially registered as a foundation of the Vatican City State on March 19, 2000, nearly 20 years after our founding.

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