What is a Refugee?

59,500,000 Forcibly Displaced People in 2015 
What is a Refugee?: 
 A refugee, according to the Geneva Convention on Refugees, is a person who is outside their country of citizenship because they have well-founded grounds for fear of persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, and is unable to obtain sanctuary from their home country or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail themselves of the protection of that country; or in the case of not having a nationality and being outside their country of former habitual residence as a result of such event, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to their country of former habitual residence. Such a person may be called an "asylum seeker" until considered with the status of "refugee" by the Contracting State where they formally make a claim for sanctuary or right of asylum.
UNHCR's  (The UN Refugee Agency) annual Global Trends Report: World at War, released on Thursday (June 18, 2015), said that worldwide displacement was at the highest level ever recorded. It said the number of people forcibly displaced at the end of 2014 had risen to a staggering 59.5 million compared to 51.2 million a year earlier and 37.5 million a decade ago. The increase represents the biggest leap ever seen in a single year. Moreover, the report said the situation was likely to worsen still further. Globally, one in every 122 humans is now either a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking asylum. If this were the population of a country, it would be the world's 24th biggest.

tribesIn June 2011 the UNHCR (The UN Refugee Agency) estimated the number of displaced people to be 42.5 million of which 15.1 million are refugees. The majority of refugees who leave their country seek asylum in neighbouring countries. The definition of refuge has been expanded to include descendants of refugees, in the case of two specific groups: Palestinian refugees and Sahrawi refugees. Currently, the UN does not consider refugee status to be hereditary for any other groups.  At the end of 2014, there were 19.5 million refugees worldwide (14.4 million under UNHCR's (The UN Refugee Agency) mandate, plus 5.1 million Palestinian refugees under UNRWA's (The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) mandate).

The 14.4 million refugees under UNHCR's mandate were around 2.7 million more than at the end of 2013 (+23%), the highest level since 1995. Among them, Syrian refugees became the largest refugee group in 2014 (3.9 million, 1.55 million more than the previous year), overtaking Afghan refugees (2.6 million), who had been the largest refugee group for three decades. As of February 2015, Turkey has become world's biggest refugee hosting country having 2.2 million Syrian and 300.000 Iraqi refugees Iraqi refugees and had spent more than US$7.6 billion on direct assistance to refugees.

Pakistan is second, hosting 1.6 million Afghan refugees. According to the UNHCR there are 200,000 to 500,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and only 32,355 of them are registered. The religious, sectarian and denominational affiliation has been an important feature of debate in refugee-hosting nations.  


What are Stateless People

‘No Passport. No Country. No Place to Call Home. ’

tribe2Statelessness refers to the condition of someone who is not considered as a national by any country. To understand how a person can lack a nationality, it helps to know how nationality works in practice. In simple terms, you acquire a nationality automatically at birth or you obtain one later on in life.

Those who acquire nationality at birth do so because they were born in a country that gives nationality through birth on their territory (jus soli) or because their parents were able to transmit their nationality to their children (jus sanguinis), which usually applies regardless of where the child was born.

Sometimes, however, people need to apply to become a national of a country and base their application on years of residence or a family link with the given country.

The international legal definition of a stateless person is set out in Article 1 of the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, which defines a stateless person as "a person who is not considered as a national by any State under the operation of its law".

This means that a stateless person is someone who does not have a nationality of any country. Some people are born stateless, while others become stateless over the course of their lives.

One major cause of statelessness is the existence of gaps in a country's legal regime relating to nationality. Every country has a law, or laws, which establish under what circumstances one acquires nationality or can have it withdrawn. If nationality laws are not carefully written and correctly applied, some people can be excluded and left stateless. An age-old example is children found in a country who are of unknown parentage (foundlings).

If nationality can only be acquired based on descent from a national, these children can be left stateless. Fortunately most nationality laws avoid this and recognize them as nationals of the state in which they are found. Another factor that makes matters more complicated is that many people move from the countries where they were born. Unless a country of origin permits a parent to pass on nationality through family ties, then a child born in a foreign country risks becoming stateless if that country does not permit nationality based on birth in the territory alone. Finally the rules setting out who can and who cannot transmit their nationality are sometimes discriminatory.

  • The laws in 27 countries do not let women pass on their nationality, while some countries limit citizenship to people of certain races and ethnicities.
  • A second important reason that statelessness occurs is the emergence of new states and changes in borders. In many cases, specific groups may be left without a nationality as a result of these changes.
  • Even where new countries would allow nationality for all within the territory, ethnic, racial and religious minorities frequently have trouble proving their link to the country.
  • In countries where nationality is only acquired by descent from a national (jus sanguinis), then this means that statelessness will be passed on to the next generation.
  • Statelessness can also be caused by a loss or deprivation of nationality.
  • In some countries, citizens can lose their nationality simply from having lived outside their country for too long.
  • States can also arbitrarily deprive citizens of their nationality through changes in law that leave whole populations stateless, using discriminatory criteria like ethnicity or race to define who and who does not belong to a state.


Muhammad Ali

R.I.P.:  Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they have been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It's a challenge. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary.  IMPOSSIBLE  IS NOTHING !


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