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Truth about asylum seekers and refugees 
 See also
Asylum childcare
 Web links
Information Centre about Asylum and Refugees (ICAR)
United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR)
Amnesty International
Refugee Council

Refugees and asylum seekers

Who is a Refugee?
The 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, was the first international law to define the term 'refugee', and to outline how refugees should be treated.

The Convention defines a refugee as someone who is forced to leave their country and seeks protection in another country because of: 

"a well-founded fear of persecution in their own country for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion".

It was drafted in response to the horrors of the Holocaust, when fleeing Jewish refugees were denied asylum by many countries, and because of the millions of people who became refugees in Europe during and after World War II.

One hundred and thirty four countries signed the agreement stating that anyone,anywhere, who is forced to flee persecution in their own country will have their claim to asylum heard fairly, and receive protection if they need it.

Who is an Asylum Seeker?
When a refugee arrives in a new country, they are known as an asylum seeker until they are granted refugee status. If someone has fled their home in fear of their life but has not crossed the borders of their country, they are known as an 'internally displaced person'.

Imagine how you would feel if tomorrow you had to flee your home and family in fear of your own safety. Who would you turn to? Where would you go? How would you cope?

What’s the difference between an asylum seeker and a refugee?
An asylum seeker is someone who has asked the British government for protection under international law and has not had a decision on their case yet. A refugee is someone who has proven that they need protection under international law and the government has granted them refugee status in Britain.

It's important not to confuse refugees and asylum seekers with migrant works, for example those who come from Eastern Europe. Migrant workers are allowed to come here to work under European law. They have as much right to live, work and holiday here as we have in other European countries such as Spain.

Myths and facts about refugees and asylum seekers

When a refugee arrives in a new country, they are known as an asylum seeker until they are granted refugee status. If someone has fled their home in fear of their life but has not crossed the borders of their country, they are known as an internally displaced person.

Imagine how you would feel if tomorrow you had to flee your home and family in fear of your own safety. Who would you turn to? Where would you go? How would you cope?

Where do most asylum seekers come from?
There are almost 100 million international arrivals in the UK each year - less than 0.1 per cent of these are asylum seekers. Most of the people who come to the UK are from Australia, America and European countries.

Most asylum seekers in Hull come from Iraq, Iran and Zimbabwe. There are only 19 people from Kosovo currently seeking asylum here. In the country as a whole, most asylum seekers come from Somalia, China, Iran and Iraq.

Many of these countries are dangerous to live in because of war or political troubles. These are just some of the terrible situations that can force someone to leave their country.

Famous refugees
Refugees include world famous figures such as:
Sigmund Freud - psychologist, Karl Marx - political revolutionary, Camille Pissaro - painter, Michael Marks - founder of Marks & Spencer, Alan Yentob - BBC Creative Director, Joseph Conrad - writer, Anish Kapoor - artist, Alek Wek - model, Sir George Solti - conductor, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown - journalist and editor.

But millions of ordinary people are forced to leave their countries every year. They are ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.

Contact us

Tel: 01482 300 300
Fax: 01482 612 064
Text phone: 01482 300 349
Email: corporate.equalities@hullcc.gov.uk

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