We Are Refugees

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we are fugees re

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The Syrian refugee situation, has become one of the biggest humanitarian crisis’ in the last decade.

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9 million An estimated Syrians have fled their homes since the 2011. outbreak of civil war in March

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watch on tv we

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the news… we read in

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But do we understand who and what a refugee is? who But do we understand what refugees are? and

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Many expect refugees to look like this…

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baffled when And get we see images like this.

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It’s easy to view images and get confused.

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qualifies as refugees? So who

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A refugee is: A person 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 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… ” -1951 United Nations Refugee Convention

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refugees cannot be: war criminals. guilty of committing serious non-political crimes. guilty of acts contrary to the purpose and principles of the united nations.

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This is the definition agreed upon at the 1951 united nations refugee convention (aka the “geneva convention”).

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This decree was enacted World War II, after when hundreds of thousands of war refugees were displaced from all across Europe.

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In 1967, the treaty was amended to include refugees from around the world.

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Over the past several decades, 142 states have signed on to both the 1951 Refugee Convention and the 1967 protocol.

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The Geneva Convention treaty also defines who is NOT a refugee.

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A refugee is not: An internally displaced person ” An 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.” - UNHCR

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Refugees are protected by international law and eligible to receive aid. An internationally displaced person is not.

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A refugee is not: An asylum seeker A stateless person is someone who is not a citizen of any country.

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Asylum seekers are first evaluated in order to obtain refugee status.

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If an asylum seeker is judged to not be in need of international protection, they can be sent back to their home countries.

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A refugee is not: A forced migrant A person leaving not due to persecution, but because of natural disasters (drought, floods, earthquakes…)

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A refugee is not: An economic migrant A person leaving their country due to economic reasons. Even when leaving extreme poverty.

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but why does the definition of a refugee matter?

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Because, as a refugee you are given certain rights:

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refugee rights: “non-refoulment” refugees cannot be forced to return to his or her home country.

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refugee rights: the right to not be punished for illegally entering countries that are signed to the treaty.

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refugee rights: the right to housing.

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refugee rights: the right to work.

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refugee rights: access to an education.

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refugee rights: access to public assistance.

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refugee rights: freedom of movement within the territory.

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refugee rights: The right to obtain identification and travel documents.

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A refugee becomes entitled to other rights the longer they remain in the host country.

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so who are these refugees?

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men are refugees.

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women refugees are refugees. are women.

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children are refugees.

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a refugee t defined is no appearance. by

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they are not defined by race.

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they are defined by what they re fleeing. a

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for countries accepting refugees

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ith the refugees… the fear is that w

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violence will follow.

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Those tasked with approving or rejecting asylum seekers, the job is even more difficult.

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Screening is imperfect.

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Honesty is not guaranteed.

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Making it difficult to judge who we can trust.

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for us living with the safety these refugees seek,…

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will our moral obligation to help fellow humans…

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prevail over our fears?

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