The term refugee is most often used to include people who may or will fall outside of the scope of the above definetion since they have left their countries because of war and not because of fear of persecution and also nor were they forced to migrate from their countries.
Earlier in history we can see that there was a notion that a person who sought sanctuary in a holy place could not be harmed which was used by ancient Indians, greeks and Egyptians. The right to seek asylum in a church or any other holy place was first codified in law by the King Ethelbert of Kent around 600 A. D. There were similar laws which was implemented by other kings throughout the world.
There was also a related concept called political exile which has also a long history. In 1648, Peace of Westphalia was signed and nations recognized each others sovereignty. In the late 18th Century onwards, there was an advent of romantic nationalism and in particular, Europe’s nationlism gained sufficient prevalence and there was a phrase called “country of nationality” which became practically more meaningful. After that, there was a requirement to provide identification for the people who crossed the borders of different nations.
UNHCR gives protection and assistance not only to refugees, but also to other categories of displaced or needy people which include asylum seekers, refugees who have returned home and these people still want help in rebuilding their lives, local civilian communities directly affected by the movements of refugees, stateless people and so-called internally displaced people (IDPs). IDPs are civilians who have been forced to flee their homes and these people are within their country and therefore, unlike refugees, are not protected by international law and may find it hard to receive any form of assistance. Rhe nature of war has changed in the last few decades, with more and more internal conflicts replacing interstate wars, the number of IDPs has increased significantly.
The UNHCR succeeded the earlier International Refugee Organization and the even earlier United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (which itself succeeded the League of Nations’ Commissions for Refugees).
A refugee is someone who seeks refuge in a foreign country because of war and violence, or out of fear of persecution which is described in the international refugee law. The grounds for seeking asylum in United States are – persecution “on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group”. The asylum-seeker has to request for refuge and until it has been accepted, he will be treated as asylum-seeker. Only when an asylum-seeker gets the recognition of his protection needs, he or she is officially referred to as a refugee and enjoys refugee status, which carries certain rights and obligations according to the legislation of the receiving country.
The practical determination of a person as a refugee or not is most often left to certain government agencies within the host country. This can lead to a situation where a country may not recognize the refugee status of the asylum seekers, nor see them as legitimate migrants so that the country will treat them as illegal aliens.
Fraudulent requests in an environment of lax enforcement may lead to an improper classification of a person as a refugee, resulting in the diversion of resources from those with a genuine need. The asylum/refugee seekers percentage differs from country to country who do not meet the international standards of special-needs refugee, and for whom resettlement is deemed proper. Where an asylum applicant has failed to gain the legal status, the asylum applicants are most often deported, sometimes after imprisonment or detention, as in the United Kingdom.
A claim for asylum may also be made onshore, usually after making an unauthorized arrival. Some governments are tolerant and accepting of onshore asylum claims; other governments arrest or detain those who attempt to seek asylum; sometimes while processing their claims.
NGO’s who are concerned about the refugees and asylum seekers have pointed out that there are certain difficulties for displaced persons to seek asylum in industrialized countries. Since some countries immigration policies mainly focus on the fight of irregular migration and the strengthening of border controls, it deters the refugee or the displaced person from entering territory in which they could lodge an asylum claim. The asylum seekers can be forced to undertake the most often expensive and hazardous attempts at illegal entry due to the lack of opportunities toaccess the asylum procedures legally.
The arbitrariness in asylum adjudication in the United States of America have led some commentators to describe the process as refugee roulette where the system in which the identity of the adjudicator, rather than the strength of the asylum seeker’s claim, is the most determining factor in winning an asylum claim.
The UK gave political asylum to a lot of persecuted people and among those were the members of the socialist movement (including Karl Marx) in the 19th Century. After the 1845 attempted bombing of the Greenwich Royal Observatory and the 1911 Siege of Sidney Street in the context of the propaganda of the deed anarchist actions, political asylum legislation was restricted.
Even in a supposedly “post-conflict” environment, it is not a simple process for refugees to return home.
The Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT) was a tribunal constituted in the United Kingdom with jurisdiction to hear appeals from many immigration and asylum decisions. It was created to replace the former Immigration Appellate Authority (IAA) and fell under the administration of the Tribunals Service.
The Asylum and Immigration Tribunal was abolished and all of its functions were transferred to the new Asylum and Immigration Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal created by the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 on 15 February 2010.
The Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) has been set up to hear appeals against removal of potential deportees in high security cases. In the hearings, the information given to the appellants and their representatives is limited as compared to other removal hearings.
Immigration to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland since 1922 has been substantial, in particular from Ireland and the former colonies and other territories of the British Empire – such as India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Caribbean, South Africa, Kenya and Hong Kong – under British nationality law. Others have come as asylum seekers, seeking protection as refugees under the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention, or from European Union (EU) member states, exercising one of the EU’s Four Freedoms.
Refugees can be an immigration also where the person willfully migration to the other country.
As per Anthony Browne, Britain is already overcrowded, and that pro-immigration arguments are almost all flawed.
Since Enoch Powell’s infamous speech a third of a century ago, The subject of immigration has been taboo in Britain. There had been only one debate in parliament about the optimal types and scale of immigration.
Mass immigration hugely exacerbates the housing crisis. Britain is already overcrowded: it is one of the most densely populated islands in the world; twice as densely populated as France and eight times as densely populated as America.
Mass immigration -as opposed to limited immigration of skilled workers to meet shortages- damages the employment prospects of those already here, particularly the unskilled.
Imposing mass immigration on a society that doesn’t want it damages relations between the communities that are already here. If people are opposed to the immigration policy, they are likely to be opposed to the people it brings in and will often confuse immigrants with those born here. The old wisdom that a firm but fair immigration policy is essential for good race relations has been forgotten by the government. Refusing to address legitimate concerns forces voters into the hands of extremist parties such as the British National party.
Under the 2002 Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act brought in last November, the Home Office toughened up its stance on those seeking refuge in the UK.
In the past, asylum claimants were given months to make their claim whereas now, an asylum seeker has to make a claim at port of entry or as soon as “reasonably practicable”.
Approximately 60 per cent of refugees do not make immediate applications upon arrival. Those who don’t are not entitled to Government-funded living costs or housing benefits. Under the Act, those who give incomplete or false information on their application form will not receive support.
People who fail the habitual residence test – which stops them claiming benefits if they have only very tenuous connections to the UK – will no longer be able to get support from local authorities.
^ “Definitions and obligations”
. UNHCR. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
Immigration and Asylum: from 1900 to the present. Entries A to I, Volume 1
edited by Matthew J. Gibney
Uncharted Territory: Land, Conflict and Humanitarian Action by Sara Pantuliano published in 2009
Overseas Development Institute
Courtesy of The Spectator, London, England.
The name of the country was formally changed in 1927 from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland to United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland by the Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act. However, the change had effectively taken place when the Anglo-Irish Treaty had established the Irish Free State in 1922, granting near-independence to 26 of the 32 counties of Ireland.
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