MIGRANTS OR REFUGEES?

Displaced people

MIGRANTS OR REFUGEES?

A migrant is someone who chooses to move from their country of origin to a foreign country, whereas a refugee is someone who is forced to flee their home country.

Refugees are sometimes known as forced migrants. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), refugees are people who have fled their native countries due to armed conflict or persecution. Deportation of refugees is prohibited (The principle of non-refoulement) since denial of asylum is considered as good as a death sentence. This means that if a country of refuge turns away forced migrants, they may face the worst possible outcome: death.  It is critical for governmental agencies and individuals in receiving nations to have a better understanding that refugees flee their home countries because it is dangerous for them to stay.  It is worth remembering that these are refugees, not migrants!

Because they do not choose to relocate from one territory to the other, refugees often arrive in a country of refuge without their identity documents and personal belongings.  The refugee administration is likely to fail if government officials in the receiving country lack the ability to appreciate a refugee’s condition, posing difficulties for both a receiving country and the refugee.

Migrants, on the other hand, leave their homes for a variety of reasons other than war or persecution.  Some of them travel or relocate for economic reasons, educational opportunities, to be with their families in other countries.  As a result, unlike refugees, migrants can choose to travel and return to their native nations without fear.  Is this to say that all migrants leave their home countries with noble intentions and no hidden motives?  Indeed, some people leave their native countries just to engage in illegal activity in other countries. 

Therefore, it is important to note that, while the 1951 Refugee Convention guarantees refugees some rights, migrants do not have the same protections.  Migrants are subject to domestic immigration laws and, under international regulations, can be deported to their home countries, whereas refugees must always be protected.  Yes, there is a thin line between the two, which can make things more difficult for immigration officials.

Defusing conflict with intellect

1 Comment

  1. Precious - October 23, 2021 Reply

    This differentiation is so important, as in most cases “refugee” and “migrant” are often used as synonymous terms. This piece amends this misconception. Thank you for sharing this information.

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