According to the 1951 Refugee Convention, a refugee is someone 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 Convention also defines a refugee’s obligations to host governments and certain categories of persons, such as war criminals, who do not qualify for refugee status.
Even if half a century has passed since its adoption, the 1951 Convention is the most important document that articulates the international system for protecting refugees. While the Convention offers the legal definition of a refugee, history has shown that there is a need for more legislation to address current refugee issues.
Although the definition of “refugee” seems quite straightforward, establishing who is a refugee is a rather complicated issue....
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