From the heart I hope that these — our brothers and sisters so tried by suffering — are guaranteed asylum and the recognition of their rights, and I invite those responsible for the nations to offer protection to those who are in such delicate situations of need. - Pope Benedict XVI
Everyone must face troubles and sadness in their life. But today, take a few moments to think about all the ways we are truly blessed.
Who is a refugee?
A refugee is 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 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…"
Article 1, The 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees -from www.unhcr.org.au
How many refugees are there today?
There are about 32.9 million people of concern to UNHCR as at January 2007. Of these 9.9 million are refugees as defined by the Refugee Convention or those given prima facie recognition as part of mass influxes.
The remaining 23 million of concern to UNHCR are made up of:
* About 12.8 million internally displaced people (IDPs) who flee from their homes for the same reasons as refugees but who remain within their own country. This figure represents only a portion of the estimated 25 million IDPs worldwide who are not specifically covered by the Refugee Convention.
* About 2.6 million returnees – 1.1 million refugees who have voluntarily returned to their countries of origin but who remain of concern to UNHCR because we monitor their reintegration and provide assistance. There are also 519,430 IDP returnees.
* About 740,000 asylum-seekers, people who are seeking to be recognized as refugees but are still in the determination process.
* About 30,500 refugees who are resettled elsewhere.
* About 3.2 million others, including stateless and others.