An individual who has been forced to flee their home country due to persecution, war, or violence.

A refugee is a person who has been compelled to leave their country of origin or residence due to fear of persecution based on any of the following: race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or a particular membership in a specific social group. This definition also extends to individuals who have fled their home country due to ongoing warfare, violence, or other events that have seriously disrupted public order.

The critical distinction between a refugee and other types of immigrants is the element of forced displacement, often under circumstances that pose a direct threat to the individual’s life or freedom. Refugees are usually unable or unwilling to return to their home countries due to the prevailing conditions that endanger their safety and well-being.

Refugee status is determined through a legal process governed by international laws and conventions, like the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol. Individuals seeking refugee status must demonstrate their qualifications and undergo extensive screening and background checks by the host country or international organizations like the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Once granted refugee status, individuals are entitled to certain rights and protections, including the right to seek asylum in another country, access to essential services such as healthcare and education, and eventually, the opportunity to make an application for permanent residency or citizenship in the host country through specific immigration programs or pathways.

Protecting and assisting refugees is a global humanitarian concern, as they represent some of the most vulnerable and displaced populations in the world, often fleeing conflict, persecution, and other life-threatening circumstances.

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