Who are they? 

All of the above people share one thing in common—they have had to move from where they live—mostly for their safety due to conflict, persecution or violations of their human rights. They are recognised as forcibly displaced people, and at the end of 2019, UNHCR ( United Nations High Commission for Refugees) recorded 79.5 million displaced people around the world. So, who are the one per cent? 

Internally displaced person 

An internally displaced person is someone who has had to flee their home to take refuge in another part of their country. At the end of 2019, there were 45.7m internally displaced persons (IDP).  They are the most vulnerable because their governments are either unable or unwilling to protect them. Sometimes it is their government that is behind them having to flee for their safety. Internally displaced people are the most disadvantaged of all these groups because it is difficult and dangerous to send aid and other help to them. But IDPs are different from refugees because they haven’t crossed a border into another country.

body1.jpgRohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh.

Refugee 

refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country and has crossed a border because they fear persecution, war or violence.  In 2019, the number of refugees reached 26m.  Once a displaced person reaches a new country and successfully applies for asylum, they can be recognised as a refugee and receive legal protection and material assistance. So, once their claim as an asylum seeker is accepted, they become refugees and can begin the often long process of finding a country that will give them a new home.  

Stateless person 

stateless person is someone who is not a citizen of any country. This can befall a person if their state were to fail (as happened to the former Yugoslavia) or when states discriminate against certain populations and strip them of citizenship. The exact number of stateless people is not known but at the end of 2019, there were 4.2 million stateless people according to UNHCR. The true number is likely to be far greater. For example, in 1982, Buddhist-majority Myanmar passed a citizenship law that effectively rendered stateless most Rohingya, who are Muslim and of South Asian descent. Without a passport or identity proving who they are, they are denied all rights and services, like being able to access medical care or travel. 

Five countries account for two-thirds of the world's displaced across borders and half of them are children. 

  • Syria 
  • Venezuela 
  • Afghanistan 
  • South Sudan 
  • Myanmar 


body.jpgSettlement on the border of South Sudan and Uganda.

The settlement process for refugees in NZ 

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is the international organisation responsible for protecting the world's refugees and seeking solutions for them. UNHCR decides which refugees are in the greatest need of resettlement and asks settlement countries to consider accepting them. The New Zealand Government then makes the final decision about who will be included in the quota. New Zealand has recently increased its refugee quota from 1000 a year to 1500 as a result of the growing need but this will not be met this year because of Covid-19.  

 The refugee process is handled in New Zealand by the Red Cross and Kiwis can volunteer to help refugees settle here. Some get a group from their church or social networks and attend some training to help these new Kiwis to transition to life here in Aotearoa. They are then matched with a family or individuals to help them navigate life in New Zealand. All people accepted by New Zealand under the Refugee Quota Programme complete a six-week orientation programme at the Department of Immigration’s Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre before being settled in communities across New Zealand. 

body4.jpgChild at the Rohingya refugee settlement in Bangladesh. 


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