Who is a Refugee?

There is the definition of a “refugee” and then there is the in-person experience of who a refugee is. Global Refuge doesn’t look at refugees just as defined by our country, but also from an international and world-view perspective. While we realize that not everyone has experiences and in-person encounters with these displaced people, we value the opportunities to help them no matter our degree of separation and situation in life. Who do you think a refugee is? Everyone will have their own perspective. In relation to our mission and how you can join us in helping alleviate the suffering of refugees, this is who we believe refugees to be…

Words like “displaced people”, “persecution”, and “suffering” are found all throughout various definitions of “refugee”. From our experience, and theirs, we know these to be accurate descriptors, unfortunately. From all the different definitions one can find nowadays, the point is clear – refugees are people who are displaced from their country of origin because of persecution and man-made conflict, like war, are must flee for fear of their lives. This goes far deeper than what words can describe. Discrimination is at the root of all this tragedy, viciously targeting entire groups of people solely because of their race, religion, nationality, association with a particular political group, and even political opinions. The geographical displacement means that refugees in most cases loose the protection of their country of origin and are living in such conditions, that they are vulnerable to danger, malnutrition, and disease, just to name a few.

We’ve noticed that the word “fear” is used a lot in definitions of who a refugee is. These are people, primarily entire families with children and elderly, who are fleeing for fear of their safety. What is important to realize, is that even once they have escaped danger, the fear is not over. The new countries of asylum are many times over-burdened because of the tendency that people are displaced in large numbers. An already struggling economy in a country of refuge, many times foster only new threats to health and survival. Even more sad is that it is all too common that refugees flee one persecution, only to be greeted and struggle to live with further discrimination in their land of refuge. The most common cause of people being displaced in this way, is man-made conflict, such as war and violent uprisings that wreak havoc on innocent human lives.