Meaning of Refugee

The definition of a refugee has changed overtime; however, the core of the definition has remained the same. A refugee is a person who has been forced to flee their town, city, or country. They have to leave behind everything they had known and loved to start anew in a place that is nor their own.

The reasons why a person may have to flee from everything they knew and loved may differ, but they do have to flee in order to live. Many refugees come from war-torn areas and are usually fleeing from persecution. They may be persecuted for their religion, their beliefs, their customs, their race, their political affiliations, or even due to who they marry.

According to the 1951 Refugee Convention hosted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, a refugee is someone who “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.”

Refugees who run from their countries may never be able to go back, or it may be years when they can return to the home and family they have left behind. Refugees are often granted asylum by countries that are sympathetic to their cause, or may be doing so on a humanitarian basis.

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