What is a refugee?
In 1951 the United Nations defined a refugee as someone who “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion, is outside his/her country of nationality, and is unable to, owing to such fear, return to his/her native country.”
According to the United Nations’ High Commission on Refugees 2022 report, the number of people forcibly displaced by persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations and events seriously disturbing public order grew by 21 per cent, standing at an estimated 108.4 million at the end of the year. More than 1 in 74 people worldwide remained forcibly displaced as a result. Typically, refugees have spent time – some as long as 25 years – in refugee camps in another country before receiving permission from the UNHCR and the receiving country to be resettled in a third country.
It is estimated that in Orange County there are over 1,900 refugees, with the largest number from Burma. A large number of refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and from Syria have also been relocated here. And most recently, many Afghani refugees have settled in Orange County.