“No one leaves home unless the home is the mouth of a shark- Warsan Shire.”
Refugees are the people who are forced to flee from their own country due to persecution on an individual basis or as a part of a mass exodus because of race, nationality, political, military, and religious or other problems. According to United Nations Convention, 1951- The person who owns to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for the above reasons is outside the country of his nationality and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country or return there because there is a fear of persecution. The World nowadays is facing the biggest refugee crisis since World War-II. Nearly 60 million people have displaced from their home where in 4 million people are from Syria, 2 million are from Turkey and 1 million are from Lebanon alone.
As listed in the ‘Refugee Convention’ under Article 1(a) (2) - Reasons for the persecution of refugees would be on any one of the following five grounds: Race, Religion, Nationality, and Membership of a particular social group or Political Opinion. Persecution based on any other ground is not considerable. International Law recognizes the concept of ‘Right to Asylum’ but does not oblige states to provide it. When some nations face a sudden mass influx of the people, states at times offer ‘temporary protection’ and their asylum systems would be overwhelmed. In such situations, people are normally admitted to other countries safely but without any guarantee of permanent asylum. That was why temporary asylum is useful to both the government as well as asylum seekers but at only at particular circumstances.
Initially, most of the refugees were from European Countries. But from the past five decades majority of today’s refugees are from Africa and Asia. Refugees wait for the durable solutions for their predicament. When refugees have granted permanent or temporary asylum in the neighboring countries, they are not able to regularize their status as earlier they used to have in their own countries. Their rights are highly deprived and restricted, educational and recreational opportunities are often non-existent or severely lacking. These refugees may also be subjected to attack, either by local security forces or by cross-border incursions from the country of origin. The important protection for refugees in International Law is the principle of ‘non-discrimination.’ This concept ensures that refugees even though they are not citizens of the asylum country, are entitled to the same fundamental rights and freedoms as citizens.
Rights of refugees:
Refugees are the individuals who are in grave danger in their own countries who cross an international border in search of protection. They have to flee from the country and they have to find a country of asylum in order to get legal protection and refugee status in the other country. Their human rights should never be violated. According to Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) Article 13.2- Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own country and return to his own country. According to Article 14.2- Everyone has the right to seek and enjoy in other countries asylum from protection. Other than these guaranteed by UDHR there are some other rights of refugees as listed below.
- Right to an asylum.
- Protection against forcible return.
- Protection of refugees rights in asylum countries.
- Protection of refugees civil rights.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees:
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was established in 1950 by the resolution of U.N General Assembly and its main function is to provide international protection to refugees. It provides this protection to refugees in order to compensate for their lack or the denial of national protection. The UNHCR highly pays concentration to provide protection needs for refugee women and children. Other organs of the UN especially the ‘Economic and Social Council’ is also working to improve the status of the refugees and to ensure them good human treatment.
Written By: Roopa Surya, A student of NBM Law College as part of the Internship Program