51% of the 20 million refugees in the world today are under the age of 18. (Photo: IRC)

A refugee is a person that is persecuted because of his/her race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. Refugees survive terrible ordeals: torture, upheaval, perilous journeys, and tremendous loss.

 According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), one in every 122 humans worldwide is now either a refugee, internally displaced or seeking asylum. If this were the population of a country, it would be the world’s 24th largest.

There are approximately 20 million refugees in the world today, according to UNHCR’s latest statistics. The vast majority of these refugees will receive support in the country to which they fled until they can voluntarily and safely return to their home country. A small number of refugees will be allowed to become citizens in the country to which they fled, and an even smaller number, primarily those who are at the highest risk, will be resettled in a third country. Less than 1 percent of all refugees are eventually resettled in third countries. There are currently 29 third countries which resettle refugees, the top ten are the US, Canada, Australia, Germany, Sweden, Norway, New Zealand, Finland, the UK and France.

Resettlement involves the selection and transfer of refugees from a State in which they have sought protection to a third State which has agreed to admit them, as refugees, with permanent residence status. The status provided ensures protection against refoulement (forcible return) and provides a resettled refugee and his/her family or dependants with access to rights similar to those enjoyed by nationals. Resettlement also carries with it the opportunity to eventually become a naturalized citizen of the resettlement country.

The seven resettlement categories are:

  • Legal and/or Physical Protection Needs
  • Survivors of Violence and/or Torture
  • Medical Needs
  • Women and Girls at Risk
  • Family Reunification
  • Children and Adolescents at Risk
  • Lack of Foreseeable Alternative Durable Solutions.