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Who Is A 'Refugee'?

 
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ed_m
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2006 4:20 pm    Post subject: Who Is A 'Refugee'? Reply with quote

good discussion form this new forum: http://refugeandrejection.forumsplace.com/message6.html

Quote:
One of the hardest questions which has be asked during the course of studying refugees and refugee issues is: Who is a 'refugee?' We have struggled with on a number of different levels throughout the development of this project. And there have been a number of views, but no final consensus. Here are few of the definitions we have found:

The United Nations: According to Article 1 A (2) of the 1951 Convention (here the term “refugee” shall apply to any person who: “As a result of events occurring . . . and owing to 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 or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.”

The International for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM): Defines forced migration as “a general term that refers to the movements of refugees and internally displaced people (people displaced by conflicts) as well as people displaced by natural or environmental disasters, chemical or nuclear disasters, famine, or development projects.” The study of forced migration is multidisciplinary, international, and incorporates both an academic and field perspective. (From http://ForcedMigration.org)

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service: “Any person who is outside his or her country of nationality who is unable or unwilling to return to that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution. Persecution or the fear thereof must be based on the alien’s race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. People with no nationality must generally be outside their country of last habitual residence to qualify as a refugee. Refugees are subject to ceilings by geographic area set annually by the President in consultation with Congress and are eligible to adjust to lawful permanent resident status after one year of continuous presence in the United States.” U.S. CIS)

These definitions are by no means exhaustive. As there are no easy answers to this problem, we invite and encourge people to debate and discuss this question.


they link up to a UNHCR discussion paper here:
http://www.unhcr.org/research/RESEARCH/4538eaaa2.pdf


Last edited by ed_m on Thu Dec 21, 2006 4:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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ed_m
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2006 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i'd certainly agree that it's a difficult question - it's one that Phil, Anita & I discussed a lot over the course of this QILT project and last year's project.

The best definition is self-definition, in my opinion, although whether a person identifies themselves as a refugee may still change depending on the environment in which the question is asked...
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