Who 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."

Who is an IDP?

"An internally displaced person (IDP) is a person who has been forced to flee his or her home for the same reason as a refugee, but remains in his or her own country and has not crossed an international border. Unlike refugees, IDPs are not protected by international law or eligible to receive many types of aid. As the nature of war has changed in the last few decades, with more and more internal conflicts replacing wars among countries, the number of IDPs has increased significantly."

Definitions taken from USA for UNHCR, http://www.unrefugees.org/what-is-a-refugee/

Information used from UNHCR: http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49c3646c11.html

Information used from UNHCR: http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49c3646c11.html

Many refugees want to better their situation and have no desire to remain refugees. These are a few solutions that can sometimes be used to help them.

  • A returnee or voluntary repatriate is a refugee who returns home. This can only happen when the factors that caused someone to flee are no longer an issue in the country of origin. It may take place over a period of time beginning with visits to the home country. Assistance may be needed for legal issues and being reunited with family members. 
  • Resettlement is a great option, but very difficult to secure. When return to the home country is not possible, refugees may be given the opportunity to resettle in another country. They are moved from the country where they have sought asylum to another country that has agreed to admit them and grant permanent settlement. This option offers security to a refugee, however less than 1 percent of refugees around the world are submitted for resettlement. Refugees here in the United States have been legally resettled here in partnership with the government and aid organizations.
  • Integration is possible if the country where a refugee has sought asylum is willing. It is not easy to achieve and if there is a large number of refugees, it can place strain on the receiving country. However, if done properly, refugees are able to contribute to their host country rather than be a burden.