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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Refugee?

  • A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war or violence. 

  • A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. 

  • Most likely, they cannot return home or are afraid to do so. War and ethnic, tribal and religious violence are leading causes of refugees fleeing their countries (UNHCR).

United Nations Refugee Convention (1951)  

  • Legally defined the term "refugee"

  • Created in response to large populations fleeing Eastern Europe after World War II

  • Clearly spells out the legal protection, assistance and social rights that refugees should receive from nations that agreed to and signed this agreement

  • Each minute, 24 people are forced to leave their homeland due to war, persecution or terror   (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees)

Who is NOT a Refugee?


  • Forced to leave home due to threat of persecution

  • Cannot return home safely

Economic Migrant:

  • Leaves home voluntarily to seek a better life

  • Can voluntarily choose to return home

  • If return home, will receive protection by own government

How are refugees different from migrants, asylum-seekers, and internally displaced people?

What are the top refugee crises in the world?

What percentage of refugees are children?

About 41% of displaced people are children under 18. In comparison, children make up 30% of the world’s population. Nearly one in three children living outside their countries of birth are refugees, according to UNICEF.

How many refugees are there worldwide?

There are 27.1 million refugees across the world and around half of them are under the age of 18. The total number of displaced people worldwide is 89.3 million. This includes not only refugees but also asylum-seekers and people displaced inside their own countries.

Refugee Resources

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