GC: n

S: UN – (last access: 26 April 2017); UNHCR – (last access: 20 March 2013); UN – (last access: 8 November 2015).

N: 1. 1680s, from French réfugié, noun use of past participle of réfugier “to take shelter, protect,” from Old French refuge (see refuge). First applied to French Huguenots who migrated after the revocation (1685) of the Edict of Nantes. The word meant “one seeking asylum,” till 1914, when it evolved to mean “one fleeing home” (first applied in this sense to civilians in Flanders heading west to escape fighting in World War I). In Australian slang from World War II, reffo.
2. One that flees; especially: a person who flees to a foreign country or power to escape danger or persecution.
3. A refugee is a person who has fled their country of origin in order to escape persecution, other violations of human rights, or the effects of conflict. In international law, the fact of having crossed or not crossed an international frontier is critical, and treaties such as the 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees define a refugee as a person who not only has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, but is also outside their country of nationality (or former habitual residence if stateless), and without the protection of any other State.
By contrast, an internally displaced person is someone who has moved within the bounds of his or her own country, either for the same sorts of ‘refugee-type’ reasons, or because of natural or ‘man-made’ events, for example, earthquake, famine, drought, conflicts, disorder, or development projects, such as high-dam building. Increasingly also, displacement resulting from climate-change, remote as it may be, is attracting attention in all its dimensions, including that of international law.
4. Collocations:

  • Adj. genuine, real | would-be | returning | economic, environmental, political, war | civilian | child.
  • Verb + refugee: qualify as Those who did not qualify as refugees were returned to their home countries. | be considered, be found to be, be recognized as | accept, resettle, take (back/in) | expel, return | house | help.
  • Refugee + verb: flee sth refugees fleeing political persecution | be displaced refugees displaced by the civil war | arrive | pour Hundreds of refugees are pouring over the border. | live | return.
  • Refugee + noun: crisis, issue, problem, question, situation | exodus | resettlement | status | group, organization, worker | camp, centre, hostel | children, community, family, population.
  • Prep.: among ~ Unemployment among the refugees has risen sharply. | ~ from refugees from civil wars.
  • Phrases: a flood/influx of refugees a new influx of refugees from the combat zone | the flow of refugees, the plight of refugees, the return of refugees.

5. Cultural Interrelation: We can mention, among many others, the graphic novel Arrival (2006) by Shaun Tan and After Tomorrow (2013) by Gillian Cross.

S: 1. OED – (last access: 5 September 2014). 2. MW – (las access: 9 June 2015). 3. (last access: 26 April 2017). 4. OD – (last access: 9 June 2015). 5. The Guardian – (last access: 15 July 2016).


CR: amnesty, assistance to refugees, asylee, asylum, asylum seeker, balsero, boat people, displaced person, emigrant, environmental refugees, expatriate, forced migration, immigrant, immigration, internally displaced people, irregular migration, migrant, migration, raft, refugee camp, repatriated person, repatriation, statelessness, stateless person, wetbacks.