A refugee is a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster. Meaning they had no choice but to leave. To be granted refugee status, the applicant has to demonstrate “well-founded fear”. Refugee status is related to the protection of human rights as once an applicant is granted refugee status s/he enjoys basic human rights. In the 1951 Convention, the preamble reaffirms principles of International Human Rights law, therefore connecting it to refugee protection and status. As a matter of fact, International Human Rights law applies to all people in a State (citizens or not) and is central to the concept of international protection and asylum as refugees seek safety from Human Rights violations.
Nowadays, we are witnessing the biggest refugee crisis after World War II. Therefore, the understanding of the definition of a refugee is primordial to face this crisis. Wars, violence, and persecution drove worldwide forced displacement to a new high in 2017. There were 16.2 million new depilated people in 2017. That means 44,400 each day, 1 every 2 seconds. We have witnessed the biggest increase in a single year. Most refugees live in developing countries. It is likely that the numbers will continue to grow. More than 6 million refugees are coming from Syria, around 2.6 million from Afghanistan and 2.4 million from South Sudan. Adding to this, new disputes erupting in 2017 contributed to new displacements, including Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Venezuela. Refugees are extremely vulnerable human beings and need special help and care.
Today is not a happy day. Today we are remembering the 68.5 million people in the world that were forced to leave their home.