A refugee is anyone who cannot return to their country for fear of persecution for one of the following five reasons:
Race – including ethnicity
Religion – in some countries having no religion is viewed as badly as being of the ‘wrong’ religion
Membership of a particular social group – this can include things like membership of a trade union, your gender (i.e. male or female), your sexual orientation
Political opinion – this does not simply mean that you have to be a member of a political party, but if you have any political opinions, or even if people think you do.
Refugees are entitled to be protected against forcible return to their countries of origin.
A refugee is someone who has had to leave their country of origin because of “a well-founded fear of persecution because of reasons including their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. Ireland is a signatory to the “1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees”, which obliges us to provide protection to people fleeing their country for the reasons above. Refugees are entitled to apply for ‘family reunification’ to bring their immediate family members (within certain criteria) to Ireland.
The terms asylum-seeker and refugee are often confused: an asylum-seeker is someone who claims he or she is a refugee, but whose claim has not yet been evaluated by the authorities in the country in which they apply.
Programme refugees have their claims evaluated in refugee camps abroad and are brought into countries under specific resettlement programmes. Europe has taken several groups of programme refugees into the country over the last number of years including Sudanese, Rohingya, Somalians, and more recently Syrians.