Join us in celebrating 70 years of protecting refugees

This summer marks the 70th anniversary of the 1951 Refugee Convention. Help us mark 70 years of protecting those forced to flee by finishing the sentence, “A refugee is…”

Photo: © UNHCR / Roger Arnold

Read The Refugee Dictionary so far! Add your own definition

We’ve teamed up with lexicographer and refugee supporter Susie Dent to pay homage to the myriad of people, stories and experiences that make up the word “refugee.”

But, first, a brief history lesson… The 1951 Refugee Convention provided the first legal definition of who a refugee is and has protected the human rights of people fleeing conflict and persecution ever since. 

What are we looking for? Just a short line to help us capture the personal stories of survival, hope and new beginnings made possible by these human rights.

 This could be anything from your own personal experience or that of a refugee you met or have been inspired by. You can even submit the experiences of a family member or friend. 

We’ll collect all the definitions received from our supporters and commemorate these in a book – The Refugee Dictionary – which only defines the word “refugee.  

We look forward to reading your definitions!  

Photo: © UK for UNHCR

Photo: © UK for UNHCR

We’ve teamed up with lexicographer and refugee supporter Susie Dent to pay homage to the myriad of people, stories and experiences that make up the word “refugee.”

But, first, a brief history lesson… The 1951 Refugee Convention provided the first legal definition of who a refugee is and has protected the human rights of people fleeing conflict and persecution ever since. 

What are we looking for? Just a short line to help us capture the personal stories of survival, hope and new beginnings made possible by these human rights.

This could be anything from your own personal experience or that of a refugee you met or have been inspired by. You can even submit the experiences of a family member or friend. 

We’ll collect all the definitions received from our supporters and commemorate these in a book – The Refugee Dictionary – which only defines the word “refugee.  

We look forward to reading your definitions!  

“Refugees are people, like you and me who just want to call a place home, to belong, to be safe and to live without fear. When all those things suddenly disappear, we have to create space in our communities, help them repair and rebuild their lives – so that one day they can find home again.”

-Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Photo: © UNHCR / D. Diaz

© UNHCR / D. Diaz

“Refugees are people, like you and me who just want to call a place home, to belong, to be safe and to live without fear. When all those things suddenly disappear, we have to create space in our communities, help them repair and rebuild their lives – so that one day they can find home again.”

-Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees

What does the word “refugee” mean to you?   

The 1951 Refugee Convention enshrines the right of people fleeing the horrors of conflict and persecution to seek refuge in another country. It defines who is a refugee under international law. 

To mark the 70th Anniversary of these human rights, we are calling on the public to show they stand with refugees and submit their own definitions. 

As a committed advocate and champion for refugees, we’re asking you to share what “refugee” means to you and help us create a public record of support for refugees during this anniversary year. As well as creating a national record of solidarity, the final work, including your definition, will be presented to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and become a cultural reference for the word “Refugee” in 2021.

 

  • Yes, I stand with refugees and their right to protection under the Refugee Convention.
  • Tick below if you’d like to hear more about your submission, as well as the latest news on refugee issues and how you can support our work.
Definitions will be printed in our dictionary with your first name & location, learn more in our terms and conditions. For more information on how we use personal data, or to update your preferences, learn more in our privacy policy.

 

 

“Someone who brings good and bad memories from home but leaves them behind and looks to the future in a new country with hope.

-Lord Alf Dubs

Photo: © UNHCR

© UNHCR

“Someone who brings good and bad memories from home but leaves them behind and looks to the future in a new country with hope.

-Lord Alf Dubs

“A person who could be me, who could be you if circumstances were to change in an instant.”

-Cate Blanchett, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador

Photo: © UNHCR / Hector Perez

“A person who could be me, who could be you if circumstances were to change in an instant.”

-Cate Blanchett, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador

Photo: © UNHCR / Hector Perez

“A boy who had to give up his childhood

-David Morrissey, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador

Photo: © UNHCR / Pedro Costa Gomes

 © UNHCR / Pedro Costa Gomes

“A boy who had to give up his childhood.

-David Morrissey, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador

“My gifted friend, my collaborator, my teacher, my inspiration”

-Helen Storey

© UNHCR

“My gifted friend, my collaborator, my teacher, my inspiration”

-Helen Storey

“A doting dad who always finds the joy in everyday moments.”

Photo: © UNHCR

© UNHCR

“A doting dad who always finds the joy in everyday moments.”

Photo: © UNHCR

“My grandmother, who is the life of the party, always first on the dancefloor and last one to leave!”

-Shazia, London

Photo: © UK for UNHCR

© UK for UNHCR

“My grandmother, who is the life of the party, always first on the dancefloor and last one to leave!”

-Shazia, London

© UNHCR / Susan Hopper

“A 12-year-old girl who understands how important education is to achieving her dreams.

-Gillian Triggs, Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, UNHCR

© UNHCR / Susan Hopper

A 12-year-old girl who understands how important education is to achieving her dreams.

-Gillian Triggs, Assistant High Commissioner for Protection

“A refugee is a human being with hopes and dreams like everyone else. A refugee can be anyone, like a pilot flying your plane – a pilot like me!”

-Maya, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador

Photo: © UNHCR / Lana Corrine

Maya Ghazal

© UNHCR

“A refugee is a human being with hopes and dreams like everyone else. A refugee can be anyone, like a pilot flying your plane – a pilot like me!”

-Maya, London

“A father passing down his top-secret recipe from one generation to the next.

Photo: © UNHCR / Szabo

© UNHCR

“A father passing down his top-secret recipe from one generation to the next.

Photo: © UNHCR / Szabo

Someone just like you and me; but who has had the misfortune of having to leave their home behind. Someone who has had to bravely start another chapter of their lives in an unfamiliar place. Someone like my friend.

-Janet, Bristol

Someone just like you and me; but who has had the misfortune of having to leave their home behind. Someone who has had to bravely start another chapter of their lives in an unfamiliar place. Someone like my friend.

-Janet, Bristol

“A person who loves their country, but has to leave it as it’s become impossible for them to go on living there. It’s heartbreaking to leave the place you were born in, and all the people you loved, and be brave enough to seek another country. I was a refugee once.”

-Giuliana, Tobermory

“A person who loves their country, but has to leave it as it’s become impossible for them to go on living there. It’s heartbreaking to leave the place you were born in, and all the people you loved, and be brave enough to seek another country. I was a refugee once.”

-Giuliana, Tobermory

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