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Refugees

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Introduction

The term refugee is defined in 1951 Convention of Refugees. Article 1 of the Convention defines a refugee as: ÐŽ§A person who is outside his/her country of nationality or habitual residence; has a well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion; and is unable or unwilling to avail himself/herself of the protection of that country, or to return there for fear of persecutionЎЁ (p. 6). When civilians cross international border, they are usually afforded food and shelter, and also protected by the laws of their host country.

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are ÐŽ§individuals or groups of people who have been forced to flee their homes to escape armed conflict, generalized violence and human rights abuses. Millions of other civilians who have survived natural disasters such as floods are also generally classified as IDPsЎЁ (Internally Displaced People, 2005, p. 6). They do not fall within the operational capabilities of UNHCR and are depended on ЎҐprotectionÐŽ¦ of their own government.

Summary of Research Findings

According to the data collected by the United States Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey at the end of 2002, the total number of refugees together with Asylum seekers was 13.0 millions throughout the world. The number of internally displaced persons was 21.8 millions, which means that 34.8 million people were forced to leave their home in order to find safety somewhere else (Forced Migration Learning Module, 2003). All groups of people are forced to suffer, regardless of age and gender, including everyone form newborns to the elderly. It is estimated that about 7.7 million children are under care of UNHCR, but the total number of children under age of 18, including those who have no protection, is unknown. Refugees above 60 years of age account for 15 percent, while women and girls constitute between 45-55 percent of the refugee population (Forced Migration Learning Module, 2003, p.1). ÐŽ§The internally displaced often face a far more difficult futureЎЁ then refugees do. ÐŽ§They may be trapped in an ongoing internal conflict. The domestic government, which may view the uprooted people as ЎҐenemies of the stateÐŽ¦, retains ultimate control of their fateЎЁ (Internally Displaced Persons, 2005, p.10). Besides everyday stress and fear that they deal with, refugees and IDPs are exposed to a great number of harmful diseases. Since they are usually placed in the crowded refugee camps, where sanitation system is often inadequate, refugees and IDPs literary become the meal for hungry bacteria, viruses, and parasites who cannot wait to strike. According to Forced Migration Learning Module (2003), leading causes of mortality among forced migrants are:

„« Diarrhea ÐŽV triggered by fecal contamination of water sources,

„« Acute respiratory infection - crowding, poor ventilation, inadequate shelter, and prolonged exposure to the elements, are common risk factors for ARIs,

„« Measles ÐŽV is very common and one of the leading causes of death in refugee children,

„« Malaria,

„« War related injury/trauma - resulted from war-related violence; where health care and population health status is relatively good, it is the leading cause of mortality

„« Maternal Causes ÐŽV when emergency obstetric services are not available, complications of pregnancy and childbirth can be a major cause of mortality.

Including the causes of mortality mentioned above, the leading causes of morbidity are:

„« Malnutrition,

„« Complications of Chronic Disease,

„« Reproductive health disorders ÐŽV unwanted pregnancies due to sexual violence,

„« Psychosocial Morbidities ÐŽV Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is most frequently reported.

How This Topic Relates to Human Growth and Development

Nature

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