Separating Myth From Reality: 7 Important Facts About Refugees You Need to Know

facts about refugees

Refugees are a hot and debated topic, but how many facts about refugees do you actually know? 

Many people have opinions, but not everyone can back them up with information.

If you’re looking to back up your opinions with facts, or you’re just curious, you’re in the right place. 

Here are 7 important facts about refugees to help separate myth from reality.

1. They’re Younger than You Think

Nearly half of all of the world’s refugees are children.

These children have spent most of their lives displaced from their home countries and escaping persecution or war as their families seek a better future.

Many of them are separated from their families. Many of them are unable to attend school or receive proper care.

2. They Cross Borders

To be a refugee, a person has to cross an international border. 

There’s a different kind of person seeking safety, referred to as an internally displaced person (or an IDP), that often suffers many of the same hardships as refugees, but a refugee must end up in another country.

For example, Cheng Muyang, who fled China for Canada to avoid political persecution.

3. They’re Suffering Hardship

Refugees, by definition, must be fleeing their countries for a reason. This reason can be war, or it can be persecution. 

There are several kinds of persecution that qualify, including the persecution of race, religion, nationality, social group, or political opinion. 

THey’re seeking out a safer life in a different country.

4. More Than Half Come From Five Countries

Many refugees are hailing from the same five countries.

Two-thirds of all refugees are coming from Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Myanmar, and Somalia. One-third of all refugees are coming from Syria.

5. Asylum Seekers and Refugees are Different

The right to seek asylum is in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for anyone who is fleeing danger or strife in their home country. Every seeker of asylum, even if they are entering the country in a unique way, is meant to be honored and have their case heard.

That said, just because they are seeking asylum doesn’t automatically make them a refugee. Before their case is heard, their status is unsure. They must be legally accepted for protection as a refugee.  

6. They’re Not Where You Think

Many refugees are in countries bordering the ones that they are fleeing from. Over 80% of refugees are seeking asylum in neighboring countries from the ones persecuting them. Many of these countries are developing countries, and only a small percentage of refugees are in “rich” countries. 

7. Fewer Are Returning Home

It’s illegal to force a refugee back to their home country. Many go back by choice after it’s safe or to return to their families. As the years go by, fewer and fewer are making the choice to return home and are remaining displaced to maintain their safety. 

Do You Know Any Other Facts About Refugees?

Refugees are just people trying to live a life of safety away from social or political turmoil. Many of them have families and children and just want to provide a safe and secure home. 

Having a little bit of compassion for refugees, and learning actual facts about refugees and their stories, can open you up to learning a lot about the world.

For more interesting facts about all things, check out the rest of our site. 

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