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The term refugee has a specific international legal definition which grants certain rights to those who qualify as one under the United Nations 1951 Convention and its 1967 Protocol which expanded the temporal and geographic coverage to define a refugee as "a person who is outside his or her country of nationality and who has a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion". This international understanding grants protection to those who have been deprived of protection under law in their native country and is meant to prevent the persecution of these people who would surely meet an unfair fate if they remained.

  • source
    • Displcement and Human Rights: Current Dilemmas in Refugee Protection; by Arthur C. Helton; Journal of International Affairs vol. 47, 1994.