Learn More About Refugees


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 Pew Research Center, nearly 1 in 100 people worldwide are now displaced from their homes. Typically, refugees have spent time-some as long as 25 years-in refugee camps in another country before receiving permission from the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) and the receiving country to be resettled in a third country.

It is estimated that in Orange County there are over 1,200 refugees, almost all from Burma. Therefore, most links below pertain to ethnicities from that country. A small number of refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)  and from Syria also have been relocated here.

Links about Refugees:

General information:

From Burma:

  • Cultural Orientation Resource Center
    Links to videos and articles in PDF form.
  • Free Burma Rangers
    Website with links to articles and videos. Free Burma Rangers is a multi-ethnic humanitarian service movement.
  • The Border Consortium
    From website: The Border Consortium, a non-profit, non-governmental organisation, is an alliance of partners working together with displaced and conflict-affected people of Burma/Myanmar to address humanitarian needs and to support community driven solutions in pursuit of peace and development.
  • Karen News
    Videos, photos, and text.
  • Refugees from Burma in the United States
    YouTube video by Cultural Orientation Resource Center. Features interviews with refugees from Burma, talking about their challenges and accomplishments dealing with learning English, employment, housing and community, rights and responsibilities, and the long process of resettlement.
  • Karen Women Organisation
    Website with article that gives background of Karen ethnic group, and links to many Karen and Burma-related websites.
  • Chin Human Rights Organization From website: The Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO) is a non-governmental non-profit organization legally registered in Canada with branch offices in India, Thailand and in the United States.
  • Arakan Rohingya National Organisation From website: The Arakan Rohingya National Organisation (ARNO) is one of the representative organizations of the Rohingya people of Arakan, Burma, based in London, the United Kingdom. It is a broadly based Organisation of the Rohingya People that emerged in 1998.

From the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC):

From Syria:


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