Summer 2012: The Rights of Refugees

Rights of Refugees

"We came because for four years there was a war in our country. One day, I came home and our house was on fire."

~ Suvada Tahirovic

Refugees are people who are fleeing their own country due to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Refugees have special international rights, such as protection from being returned to their country of origin while it is still unsafe for them to be there. These rights are laid out in treaties that protect refugees.
 
Refugees need this special protection internationally because they are not protected by their own governments and may have fled without even basic items, such as identification, food, and money. In addition to needing special protection, refugees also face unique challenges, such as survival, coping with distressing earlier experiences, and reestablishing a new life.

These challenges certainly apply to resettled refugees in the classroom context, where students' experiences of instability and trauma may affect their academic learning and their relationships with other students. Teachers can use Human Rights Education (HRE) to help students understand refugees worldwide and in their own classrooms. With resources related to isolation, parent involvement, student needs, real refugee stories, and more, this issue of Rights Sites News is dedicated to helping teachers inform themselves and students about refugees to create a welcoming classroom.