A refugee is someone who has had to leave their home because
of a "well-founded fear of persecution due to race, religion,
nationality, memberships of a particular social group or because
of their political opinion".
It is often wars and conflicts that lead to people being
chased from their homes. Refugees are experiencing an extreme
life situation. You can imagine how difficult life would be
if you had to leave your home, family, and friends, and had
to face a new country, new surroundings and people who may
speak a different language that you do not understand.
The UN adopted the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees
in 1951 so that refugees would not be without rights. The
convention gave refugees several inviolable rights such as
the right to international travel documents and reunification
with their closest family. The convention also says that the
countries that refugees arrive in shall provide them with
food, shelter and opportunities for education and work.
There are currently around 14 million refugees in the world:
people who have been driven from their homes and have had
to flee to a foreign country. Most of them are women and children.
Between 20 and 25 million people have also had to flee within
their own country, they are the so-called internally displaced.
Want, political instability and poverty cause many people
in poor countries to dream of a better, safer life in the
West. Those who flee from poverty because they hope for a
better life are often called economic refugees. However, because
they do not face political persecution they are not defined
as refugees in a legal sense and can therefore not be granted
political asylum and residence in Norway based on this. However,
many such people are allowed to stay on humanitarian grounds.
Unaccompanied Minor Asylum Seekers
In 2003, almost 700 children arrived totally unaccompanied
in Norway to seek asylum. Such children often come from countries
where there are civil wars and internal conflicts that lead
to the partition of the country and the separation of people.
Many children and parents lose each other in such situations.
Being alone in a foreign country has a strong psychological
impact, especially if a child does not know what has happened
to his or her parents.
Such children will often have experienced horrible things
and feel very insecure. It is therefore important that they
are told whether or not they can stay in Norway as quickly