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. “
The 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees
Protecting refugees is the core mandate of UNHCR. This booklet answers some of the most commonly asked questions about refugees themselves and how the agency attempts to help them. Who, for instance, can qualify as a refugee and on what grounds? Can people be excluded and why? – a particularly sensitive issue given the international preoccupation with terrorism. What rights does a refugee enjoy and what obligations? What is the role of governments and of UNHCR itself? It also explores related issues including the development of ‘temporary protection’, the future of millions of so-called internally displaced persons and statelessness.
Facts and figures about refugees
Finding the right facts and figures about refugees and migrants can be a challenge for teachers. There is a plethora of information available on the internet from thousands of sources. However, the information provided is not always verifiable, complete or up-to-date.
UNHCR helps forcibly displaced people worldwide. We keep detailed, up-to-date statistics and data on refugees, asylum-seekers, IDPs and stateless people. In this section you will find a selection of teachers’ notes and fact sheets you may find useful for your lessons. You can create your own lesson by using and combining the materials as you see fit.
More than 70 million people are forcibly displaced today. That means they are in danger because of violence, war or persecution and had to leave their houses and go elsewhere to be safe. They now live as refugees, internally displaced people or asylum-seekers. (Watch the materials in the Words Matter section if you want to know what these categories mean)
But what does 70 million people really mean? Why do so many people flee? How many are women? How many are children? How long do people live as refugees? Use these teacher notes to reflect with your pupils on refugee numbers. Link what you teach to the life of refugees and to their own life in school and elsewhere. Suitable for teaching children in secondary education (age 12 and over).