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Q. What is a refugee? 

Q. How does this compare to an immigrant?

Q. Who is NOT a refugee?

what is a refugee
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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).

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

  • Refugees flee their country because of credible threats of danger or persecution and because they are not protected by their own government. In contrast, migrants may leave their country for any reason, such as employment, family reunification, or education.

  • Migrants remain under the protection of their own government, even when abroad. While refugees are protected by international laws, migrants are subject to the particular laws of the country they move to.

  • Asylum-seekers are people who’ve applied for protection — refugee status — on arrival in a country besides their own.

  • Internally displaced people (IDPs) are displaced by conflict, violence, or natural disasters within their own country.

Image by Airam Dato-on

Who is not a Refugee?

An 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.

Our Response in History

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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)

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

  • God Grew Tired of US - A documentary about 3 of the "Lost Boys of Sudan", a group of some 25,000 young men who have fled the wars in Sudan since the 1980s, and their experiences as they move to the United States.(2 hours, 26 minutes)

  • Save the Children: Most Shocking Day Refugee Simulation (3 minutes)

  • Syrian Refugee Journey: Choose Your Own Escape Route

"We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone."

Ronald Reagan

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