Have you thought about what it might be like to flee from your home, with only the belongings you can carry, without knowing if you might one day return? Many refugees are found carrying their house keys, as though they assume their eventual return is certain. However, when the average time of displacement is 17 years, the future becomes far less certain.

One of the most helpful ways to begin a discussion about refugees is to know how to define the term. Here is the exact definition, as provided by the 1951 Refugee Convention:

A refugee, according to the Convention, is someone who is unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.

Refugees are people fleeing conflict or persecution. They are protected in international law, and therefore non-refoulement is a core principle of the convention, meaning refugees must not be returned to a country where their life and freedom are at risk.

Further Reading:

  • Seeking Refuge – Stephen Bauman, Matthew Soerens, Issam Smeir
  • Assimilate or Go Home – D.L. Mayfield