Table of Contents in the Asian Legal Encyclopedia

Refugee in Asia


Introduction to Refugee

Refugee, person who is forced to leave the country in which he or she lives because of a well-founded fear of persecution. Such persecution may stem from race, religion, nationality, political opinions, or membership in a social group. An international agreement, adopted by the United Nations (UN) in 1951, established this definition in international law. The definition of a refugee is sometimes extended to people who flee their countries because of wars, human rights violations, and other disturbances. In popular usage the term refugee is applied more generally to any individual who has been forced to flee from his or her home.

People who flee their homes seek asylum (safety and protection) in another country. According to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “Everyone has the right to seek and enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.” However, not all countries wish to host refugees. Some countries fear that refugees may compete with inhabitants for scare resources, or that their presence may worsen racial, ethnic, religious, or economic conflict. In addition, the host country may not want to upset relations with the country of origin by accepting its refugees.

Refugees need assistance, such as food, shelter, and healthcare, when they seek asylum in another country. International and local organizations provide this assistance. These organizations house the refugees in refugee camps until it is safe to return to their home country. If return appears unlikely, they seek to resettle the refugees in the host country or another country. However, some refugees remain in camps for years. For many refugees, the flight to safety is not the end of the ordeal but only its beginning.” (1)


Notes and References

  • Information about Refugee in the Encarta Online Encyclopedia
  • Guide to Refugee

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