Refugees — Status of Refugees Convention

After the war,Europe ‘was faced with a tidal wave of refugees’. There were 9 million displaced persons in Germany alone.The United Nations Refugee Relief Administration[UNRRA] was established to assist in their re-settlement. Slowly they were dispersed to Australia, Canada, the United States and other countries. Non-Government organizations such as Oxfam, formed during the war to alleviate distress in Greece, Save the Children, Medicins sans Frontiere together with the Red Cross carried forward humanitarian help.

The international protection of refugees hardly existed before the First World War. Russians fleeing the Bolshevik revolution and Armenians fleeing the Turks faded dificulty in proving identity but also there was no internationally agreed definition of ‘refugee’. Two early treaties of a limited character were entered into during the thirties, one specifically directed to refugees from Germany. The aftermath of the Second World War made the problem urgent.The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was established in January 1951 and in July of that year the Status of Refugees Convention was opened for signature and ratification.

It defined a ‘refugee’ as ‘a person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race,religion,nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion,is unwilling or unable to avail himself for the protection of that country:or, who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.’ A refugee cannot be returned or sent to a country where he or she may be persecuted.

Published in: Uncategorized on October 20, 2010 at 5:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

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