The Jesuit Refugee Service was founded in 1980 in Rome by Pedro Arrupe S.J., as an international catholic organization. In view of the growing number of refugees in Belgium, JRS Belgium was set up in 2001 as the bilingual Belgian section of the JRS.
The Brussels office initially had three officers, two of which were Jesuits. From then on, Jesuits, clergymen and nuns, as well as laymen and women have been working within JRS Belgium, alongside a network of volunteers mainly helping in closed centres.
On 4 December 2007, JRS Belgium was established as a non-profit association (ASBL). Its statutes are published in the Moniteur belge. The Board of Directors of JRS Belgium is responsible for managing and representing the association. The Board is composed of six members, nominated/elected by the General Assembly:
- Xavier Ortegat, president
- Philippe Marbaix S.J., delegate for the Provincial of BML
- Leo de Weerdt S.J., delegate of the Superior ELC
- Hamida Chikhi
- Paul Van Bets
- Alain De Neef
- Arno Hoc
JRS Europe is a part of the Jesuit Refugee Service. It is a project initiated by the Conference of European Provincials. It is thus part of an inter-provincial action between 20 European Jesuit provinces of the Community.
Twice a year, the directors of all JRS offices meet in regional coordination meetings to draw up the strategic plan for the region. The associates and volunteers of the JRS in Europe meet every year at the General Assembly.