There is often a misunderstanding that refugees are only born of war and conflict. Sometimes the persecution they flee is well known and recognised, for example, the war in Ukraine, Syria, and Afghanistan. In reality, others, their plight is not so widely known, or the persecution they face is more personal – e.g. sexuality or gender. The reality is there are many reasons why a person may become a refugee.

A refugee is anyone who cannot return to their country for fear of persecution for one of the following five reasons:

  1. Race – including ethnicity
  2. Religion – in some countries having no religion is viewed as badly as being of the ‘wrong’ religion
  3. Nationality
  4. 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
  5. 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.