refugee

(redirected from Economic migrant)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Wikipedia.

refugee,

one who leaves one's native land either because of expulsion or to escape persecution. The legal problem of accepting refugees is discussed under asylumasylum
, extension of hospitality and protection to a fugitive and the place where such protection is offered. The use of temples and churches for this purpose in ancient and medieval times was known as sanctuary.
..... Click the link for more information.
; this article considers only mass dislocations and the organizations that help refugees.

The Rise of International Refugee Organizations

Early examples of mass dislocations include the expulsion of the Jews and the Moors from Spain in the 15th cent., the flights from religious persecutions in Europe to the New World in the 16th and 17th cent., and the exodus of the émigrés in the French Revolution. Before the 20th cent. there was little or no systematic attempt to help refugees, although some groups, on a private basis, provided assistance to refugees who were coreligionists.

After World War I, international organizations were created to give assistance. 1.5 million Russians fled the Revolution of 1917; in the 1920s large numbers of Armenian and Greek refugees fled from Turkey, and many Bulgarians left their country. In 1921 the League of Nations appointed Fridtjof NansenNansen, Fridtjof
, 1861–1930, Norwegian arctic explorer, scientist, statesman, and humanitarian. The diversity of Nansen's interests is shown in his writings, which include Eskimo Life (1893), Closing-Nets for Vertical Hauls and for Vertical Towing (1915),
..... Click the link for more information.
 its high commissioner for refugee work; later the International Labor OrganizationInternational Labor Organization
(ILO), specialized agency of the United Nations, with headquarters in Geneva. It was created in 1919 by the Versailles Treaty and affiliated with the League of Nations until 1945, when it voted to sever ties with the League.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and the Nansen International Office for Refugees took charge. Nansen effected repatriation wherever possible; in other cases he arranged for the issuance of Nansen passports, recognized by 28 countries, which gave the holder the right to move freely across national boundaries.

The refugee problem was revived after Hitler's accession to power in Germany (1933) and his annexation of Austria (1938) and Czechoslovakia (1939) and the persecution of Jews. The Loyalist defeat in Spain (1939) and anti-Semitic legislation in Eastern Europe added to the overall problem. Many asylum governments attempted to return refugees to their country of origin; they were often forbidden to work and sometimes imprisoned. Some progress was achieved with the establishment of a permanent committee for refugees in London after a conference of 32 nations held in France in 1938.

World War II further dislocated civil populations. At the war's end the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation AdministrationUnited Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration
(UNRRA), organization founded (1943) during World War II to give aid to areas liberated from the Axis powers. There were finally 52 participating countries, each of which contributed funds amounting to 2% of its national
..... Click the link for more information.
 (UNRRA) had the responsibility of caring for some 8 million displaced persons (persons removed from their native countries as prisoners or slave laborers). Most were eventually repatriated, but about one million in Germany, Austria, and Italy refused to return to their native countries, which were by then under Communist governments. The number of Jewish refugees was in time greatly reduced by emigration to Israel, but uprooting the Arab population of that new state in turn created some one million refugees. With the end of UNRRA, the United Nations created the International Refugee OrganizationInternational Refugee Organization
(IRO), temporary agency of the United Nations, established in 1946. In arranging for the care and the repatriation or resettlement of Europeans made homeless by World War II, the organization brought to a conclusion part of the work of the
..... Click the link for more information.
 to carry on its work. After much debate the United States in 1948 adopted the Displaced Persons Act, which, despite numerous restrictions, eventually permitted the entrance of about 400,000 immigrants.

The Contemporary Refugee Problem

The world refugee problem has remained acute. When the Indian subcontinent was partitioned in 1947, millions of people were forced to migrate. Steady streams of refugees left China and East Germany, especially in the 1950s. The Korean War produced some 9 million refugees. Other major refugee-creating events of the 1950s include the Hungarian Revolution (1956) and the uprising in Tibet (1958–59). Sub-Saharan Africa's massive refugee problem is rooted in the continent's colonial past. Before colonization, Africans had moved freely within their own tribal areas. However, the boundaries fixed by 19th-century colonial powers often cut across tribal areas, resulting, particularly after independence, in mass movements of refugees across national borders. By the early 1990s there were close to 7 million refugees in Africa, including 4.5 million displaced Sudanese. The Arab-Israeli War of 1967 expanded an already swollen Palestinian refugee population in the Middle East (now estimated at 5.2 million), and hundreds of thousands Lebanese also fled (largely to other parts of Lebanon) when Israel invaded in 1982 and 2007. The Vietnam War and Cambodian civil war created large numbers of Southeast Asian refugees; the India-Pakistan War of 1971 produced about 10 million refugees, most repatriated to newly created Bangladesh.

In the 1980s and 90s fighting in Afghanistan created large Afghan refugee populations in Pakistan and Iran, and in the latter decade the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, especially in Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo displaced hundreds of thousands within Europe. Conflicts in Uganda, Burundi Rwanda, and Zaïre/Congo, which sometimes spilled from one nation to the other, as well as fighting in Sudan, Somalia, and Iraq disrupted the lives of millions in the late 20th cent. and early 21st cent. Subsequently, the Syrian civil war that began in 2011 created several million international refugees by mid-decade, mostly in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan, and Turkey; more than a million of these and other refugees and migrants fled to the European Union nations in 2015. Civil strife in South Sudan and the Central African Republic in the same decade displaced hundreds of thousands.

At the end of 2015 the world's international refugee population as tracked by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees was about 16.1 million, not including the above-mentioned Palestinians. The largest displacements involved some 4.9 million Syrians living in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and other nations; 2.7 million Afghans living in Pakistan, Iran, and other nations; and 1.1 million Somalis in Kenya, Ethiopia, and other nations. Hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese, Sudanese, Congolese, Central Africans, Myanmarese, Eritreans, Ukrainians, Pakistanis, Burundians, Rwandans, and Iraqis were also refugees. In addition, there were an estimated 40.8 million "internally displaced persons," individuals forced from their homes within the boundaries of their own countries. Colombia, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Yemen, Nigeria, South Sudan, Congo (Kinshasa), Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Somalia were the nations with the largest numbers of internal refugees.

In the face of these numbers, and the expense of administering aid, private relief agencies such as CARECARE
(Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere), nonprofit, nonsectarian federation of agencies devoted to channeling relief and self-help materials to needy people in foreign countries.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and Oxfam fight overwhelming odds; support often rises and falls on media attention. While Southeast Asians, Cuban, and Soviet refugees found political support in the United States, far fewer refugees from Central America, Haiti, Africa, or Syria gained entry. Many governments refuse asylum to refugees; meanwhile, long-term refugees suffer various psychological hardships, and the root causes of the problem—war, famine, epidemics—remain unsolved.

Bibliography

See J. Vernant, The Refugee in the Post-War World (1953); J. G. Stoessinger, The Refugee and the World Community (1956); P. Collins, A Mandate to Protect and Assist Refugees (1971); P. Tabori, The Anatomy of Exile (1972); L. Holborn, Refugees, a Problem for Our Time: The Work of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 1950–1970 (1974); J. Jacobsen, Environmental Refugees (1988); C. Kismaric, Forced Out (1989); E. Haddad, The Refugee in International Society (2009).

What does it mean when you dream about a refugee?

A refugee may indicate the dreamer feels like a displaced person, belonging to another place or time.

References in periodicals archive ?
When countries embark on nation-building, such as the America of yesteryear, or in countries with labour shortages such as Britain and France after World War II, they welcomed refugees and economic migrants with open arms.
Many of those now crossing the Mediterranean and labeled economic migrants could arguably be survival migrants, fleeing fragile and failed states in Africa and the Middle East.
Economic migrants with the desire to do so can soon improve their English - a thought recently enforced by Gordon Brown in his first Queen's Speech - and the longer they work on UK projects, the more accustomed they will become to standards, processes and expectations within the construction industry.
The figures are contained in a report by Malcolm Russell, strategic director at the council, who claims economic migrants were now a "vital component" in the economy.
The simple fact is that the world's economic migrants know that we are a soft touch - and have been literally since the Labour government was elected.
It is totally irresponsible for anyone to advocate bringing into our country more and more unskilled economic migrants, when we have an estimated three million people, including children, on our social housing waiting list, some of them for many years.
They are economic migrants who are not required even by countries which otherwise struggle with a shortage of work force.
WITH austerity cuts on going and with economic migrants being welcomed into the UK this could be placing a drain on our over stretched services such as health, education, social services and housing as the population increases.
In recent years, better security and economic progress on the continent have done much to give economic migrants a reason to stay at home.
On a visit to Prague for a meeting with Czech counterpart Milos Zeman - the first time they hold talks since he assumed the presidency in 2012 - he called on leaders to draw the line between refugees fleeing war and economic migrants seeking better opportutinites.
Nearly all the movers were economic migrants, pushed out of their countries by famine and agricultural depression and pulled to the New World by the promise of free land and a better life.
com/Africa/News/italy-says-another-3-000-migrants-rescued-off-libya-20160525) 3,000 more refugees and economic migrants  in the Mediterranean Sea on Tuesday near Libya, Agence France-Presse reported, bringing the number of people rescued and brought to Italian ports this year to 37,000.