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“Refugees” or “Migrants”? How word choices affect rights and lives

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“Refugees” or “Migrants”? How word choices affect rights and lives

UNHCR Explainer
Refugees walk on a highway, with the sea in the background

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Find information and services for refugees, asylum-seekers and stateless persons

UNHCR helps to save lives and build better futures for the millions of people forced to flee their homes.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency works to ensure that everybody has the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge, having fled violence, persecution, war or disaster at home.

Since 1950, we have faced multiple crises on multiple continents, and provided vital assistance to refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced and stateless people, many of whom have nobody left to turn to.

We help to save lives and build better futures for millions forced from home.

Bangladesh. Families settled in Nayapara camp
Help protect the right to seek safety. Call on world leaders to protect people seeking asylum and their rights.
Mother holds child and points to family pictures on the wall
From Sudan to Vietnam, these refugee stories are vastly different. But they all share one thing in common: being forced to flee. Read about why they fled, the challenges they've faced and be inspired by their resilience.

GRF Pledges 2023

GRF Pledges 2023

The latest Global Refugee Forum (GRF) took place in December 2023 and aimed to mobilise new actions and commitments that will shape responses to refugees into the mid-2020s and beyond.

Pledges and contributions to refugee responses were made by States, NGOs, private sector organisations and many others from around the world. 

Discover the pledges and contributions from Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific to learn how stakeholders in the region are committing to support refugees. 

2023 regional pledges

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Key facts and figures

108.4 million people worldwide are forcibly displaced.
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Most refugees – 76 per cent – are hosted by low- and middle-income countries.
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Teaching Resources

Drawing of a student writing at a desk

 

Discover a collection of UNHCR teaching materials on refugees, asylum and migration for primary and secondary education, as well as some guidance for teachers working with refugee children in the classroom. 

Learn more

Afghanistan. Winterization in Bamyan province

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TAKE ACTION

What Can I do to Support?

Everyone has the right to seek and enjoy asylum. But, for many people in many parts of the world, this right is under threat. Solidarity with all refugees, everywhere, is needed more than ever to defend and uphold this right.

Discover 10 ways you can show solidarity with people forced to flee and take action to give hope, protection and safeguard their rights.

10 ways to support refugees

 

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A young Rohingya girl holds her little brother
UNHCR protects people forced to flee conflict and persecution. We are there for refugees, asylum-seekers, people displaced within their own country and stateless persons.
A UNHCR staff member shows a group of Rohingya refugees the direction to a transit centre.
UNHCR delivers life-saving assistance in emergencies, safeguards fundamental human rights, and helps displaced people find a safe place to call home.
A UNHCR staff member helps an elderly Syrian refugee woman to step down from a bus.
UNHCR supports countries to develop national refugee legislation, increase capacity in refugee status determination and introduce protection safeguards in immigration procedures.