Who is a Refugee?

Photo Credit: S. Aber, JRS/USA

Photo Credit: S. Aber, JRS/USA

A refugee is someone who fled his or her own country because of persecution, or a well-founded fear of persecution, based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

Millions of refugees around the world are forced to flee their homes due to violence and persecution.  According to the UN Refugee Agency, as of the end of 2015 there were 21.3 million refugees, and a further 40.8 million internally displaced persons.

Once refugees cross a border to seek safety, there are three traditional durable solutions:

  1. integrate into their country of asylum
  2. Return to their home country
  3. Resettle to a third country

Resettlement is the option of last resort for the most vulnerable refugees who can't stay where they are or return home. Less than one percent of the world's refugees are ever resettled.