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Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Trauma


A refugee, defined by the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees 1951 and the Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees 1968, is any person who has a well-founded fear of being persecuted because of their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group and political opinion.

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Asylum seekers

An asylum seeker is a person who has left their country of origin and has applied for protection as a refugee to a government or the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has a right to seek and enjoy in countries asylum from persecution.

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Torture and trauma

Refugees and people from refugee-like backgrounds may have been through many traumatic experiences, including torture, as a result of the actions of other human beings in the context of war and persecution that could have a long-term traumatic impact.

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Australia’s Refugee and Humanitarian Program

Australia is a signatory to the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and has accepted well over 750,000 people under its Humanitarian Program since around the time of World War II.

Learn more about Australia’s Refugee and Humanitarian Program

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