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Refugees

  • By: Lezlie C. Morinière
  • In: Encyclopedia of Disaster Relief
  • Edited by: K. Bradley Penuel & Matt Statler
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Policy (general)

More than 50 million refugees have been the visible consequence of disasters and the quintessential symbol of complex emergencies across the globe over the past 50 years. The 1951 United Nations (UN) Convention defines refugee as an individual fleeing certain types of persecution across an international boundary. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is mandated to lead humanitarian efforts, providing support such as shelter, food, and safe repatriation to forced migrants in host countries. Other types of migrants include: asylum seekers, internally displaced people (IDP), and returnees.

Definitions

The term refugee has been scrutinized repeatedly since it was formally defined by the 1951 UN Convention. According to the convention, a refugee is “any person who, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of ...

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