Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) currently recognizes 27 million persons as refugees (persons who have sought refuge across national boundaries) and another 26 million as internally displaced persons (IDPs) (persons who have sought refuge within their own countries). These people have fled war and political persecution based on ethnicity, religion, or race. Sometimes refugees result from natural disasters that force the migration of people into regions away from their homes. The Geneva Convention of 1951 defines a refugee as one who, “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted … is [living] outside [their] country of nationality.” Advocates for refugees suggest the broadening of the convention definition to include IDPs. Most of the world's displaced persons (refugees and IDPs) are found in Africa, Asia, and Europe, with a disproportionate number in the developing world. Ninety per cent of war refugees exist in the developing world, with the poorest ...