Do you know what it means to be a refugee?
You have probably already heard about refugees and how the refugee crisis has affected some countries around the world. But, have you ever wondered what it means to be a refugee? To raise awareness of the World Refugee Day coming up this week (June 20th), we are going to explain this term and other ones that are under this umbrella.
In recent years, we have caught up with the news about the fleeing of hundreds of people who have left their countries such as Syria and Afghanistan, to seek shelter and security in other countries, especially in Europe. Entire families leave their homes behind in search of a new life, but it does not mean they will conquer it in a new country. Unfortunately, on this journey, there are many challenges to overcome.
According to The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), “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”.
A term that goes hand in hand with refugees is an internally displaced person (IDP). Unlike a refugee, where an international border is crossed, an internally displaced person is someone who has also fled his home; however, he remains in his country. These people generally go to nearby cities and neighbourhoods to seek protection in internal camps, settlements, and schools. Unfortunately, internally displaced persons are not qualified to receive many types of support and are not under the protection of international law. Instead, they are protected by their government.
Another term commonly confused with refugees is asylum seekers. These people go to other countries to apply for asylum. To do so, they need to prove that they needed to flee their home country to avoid being persecuted. If proved, asylum seekers can be legally protected and receive the recognition of refugees.
Annually, Surrey has welcomed many refugees from around the world. Umoja, along with its partners and the community have supported this cause in many ways.