The term refugee is familiar to most people. Common notions of refugees include people fleeing for their lives to escape a natural disaster or war zone. Past examples of mass refugee flows include the Balkans war, the Rwandan genocide and World War II. The concept of seeking refuge has been present in our cultures and societies for a long time.
The most widely used legal definition of a refugee is contained in the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which has been signed by one hundred and forty seven countries. These states recognise the right of a person to flee their country because they have a “well-founded fear of being persecuted” due to their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.
Distinguishing refugees from migrants.
Refugees are by no means the only people living outside their country of origin. In today’s global village people are constantly leaving their homes in search of new opportunities. Migration across borders or within a country is a reality for many societies across the world.
In public debates the distinction between refugees and other people on the move is often blurred. It is important to remember however, that refugees have a distinct legal status. Refugees are forced to leave their country because their lives are in danger. Migrants and other groups on the move often make a conscious decision for economic and other reasons. Refugees don’t have this choice.
Refugees are forced to leave and need international protection. This is why one hundred and forty seven countries across the world have signed the Geneva Convention and granted refugees a unique legal status.SOURCE: ecre.org
What is an Asylum Seeker?
A person who has left their country of origin and formally applied for asylum in another country but whose application has not yet been concluded.
Refused asylum seeker: A person whose asylum application has been unsuccessful and who has no other claim for protection awaiting a decision. Some refused asylum seekers voluntarily return home, others are forcibly returned and for some it is not safe or practical for them to return until conditions in their country change. SOURCE: refugeecouncil.org.uk
What is an Internally Displaced Person?
Internally displaced persons, or IDPs, are among the world’s most vulnerable people. Unlike refugees, IDPs have not crossed an international border to find sanctuary but have remained inside their home countries. Even if they have fled for similar reasons as refugees (armed conflict, generalized violence, human rights violations), IDPs legally remain under the protection of their own government – even though that government might be the cause of their flight. As citizens, they retain all of their rights and protection under both human rights and international humanitarian law. SOURCE: unhcr.org
What rights does a refugee have?
A refugee has the right to safe asylum. However, international protection comprises more than physical safety. Refugees should receive at least the same rights and basic help as any other foreigner who is a legal resident, including freedom of thought, of movement, and freedom from torture and degrading treatment.
Economic and social rights are equally applicable. Refugees should have access to medical care, schooling and the right to work.
In certain circumstances when adequate government resources are not immediately available, such as the sudden arrival of large numbers of uprooted persons, international organizations such as UNHCR provide assistance. This may include financial grants, food, tools and shelter and basic infrastructure such as schools and clinics. With projects such as income-generating activities and skill training programmes, UNHCR makes every effort to ensure that refugees become self-sufficient as quickly as possible.
What are the obligations of a refugee?
Refugees are required to respect the laws and regulations of their country of asylum. SOURCE: unhcr.org
Impacts of Refugees on Societies (by Haya Madanat)
READ MORE SOURCE:blog.hopesforwomen.org
- Economic impacts
- Social impacts
- Political and security impacts
- Environmental impacts
READ ARTICLE 1: Social and economic impact of large refugee populations on host developing countries (SOURCE: unhcr.org)
READ ARTICLE 2 : The Impacts of Refugees on Neighboring Countries: A Development Challenge (SOURCE: siteresources.worldbank.org)
READ ARTICLE 3: Refugees and the Difficulties They Face (SOURCE: guardianlv.com
READ ARTICLE 4 : Viewpoints: Impact of Syrian refugees on host countries (SOURCE: bbc.com)
The Syrian Refugees Struggle
READ ARTICLE & WATCH VIDEOS (SOURCE: unhcr.org)
CONVERSATION QUESTIONS (SOURCE: esldiscussions.com)
READ ARTICLE: Choose Your Own “Adventure” As A Syrian Refugee -View resources (SOURCE: larryferlazzo.edublogs.org)
View resources (SOURCE: henry4school.fr)
READ ARTICLE: Here’s how you can help during the refugee crisis in Europe (SOURCE: mashable.com)
An Open Letter to the Governments of Europe (SOURCE: europeact.eu)