What Is a Refugee?

A Refugee's JourneyA refugee is someone who must flee their homeland in order to be safe. They cannot return home, or they are rightly afraid to return home due to violence or persecution. The United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, adopted in 1951, defines a refugee as…

[A]ny 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.

An asylee is someone who faced the same hardship as a refugee but, instead of seeking refuge while outside of their future resettlement country, applied for U.S. asylum while physically present in the United States.

To gain a deeper understanding, explore resources about the lives of refugees.

Video: Meet 6 refugees and an outstanding community partner

Honorees featured in the video:

  • Hassani Bana, Binti Muchiwa, and children – Somalia – Homeowners and Family of Twelve
  • Anduale Hassan – Ethiopia – Chef and Restaurant Owner: Authentic Ethio African Spices
  • Ler Moo – Burma – Educator
  • Laura Sandez – United States – Public Service Evaluator
  • Lawi Family – Congo – U.S. Generation College Students
  • Falah Saeedi – Iraq – Visual Artist
  • Bishaaro Arif – Somalia – Community Volunteer