CJI supports several projects run by the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) to support people who have been forcibly displaced by armed conflict or natural disasters. The definition of “refugee” adopted is that articulated by Catholic social teaching, including not only persons persecuted because of race, religion, membership of social or political groups, but also internally displaced persons (IDPs) and ‘de facto refugees’ who are driven from their homes by war, natural disasters and erroneous economic policy.
The projects supported by CJI are found in developing countries, which host 80% of the world’s refugees. A glimpse at global statistics reveals that the enormity of the phenomenon of forced displacement: at the end of 2010, there were 33.9 million people “of concern to UNHCR”, the UN agency for refugees. But these statistics do not tell the whole story. The Palestinian refugees, numbering 4.82 million, are not included in this estimate, nor are millions of IDPs whose needs are not met by UNHCR. Other reliable estimates put the number of IDPs at 27.5 million, nearly twice as much as the UNHCR estimate.