Imagine that your life, as you know it, disappears in the blink of an eye. War, violence or fear for your family’s safety force you to flee your home. After hours or even days of a torturous journey, you find shelter far away, in a squalid tent.
Not a pretty picture, right? But the fact is that millions of people around the world, in countries big and small, people of all ages and many nationalities, have been living in such desolate and precarious conditions for years.
Refugee: A person who, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion, is unwilling to avail themselves of the protection of the country of their previous residence.
Internally Displaced Peoples (IDP’s): Persons who have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of residence, as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or natural or human-made disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognized State border.