The 1951 Refugee Convention …
“A refugee is someone who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.”
– United Nations Refugee Agency
The 1951 Refugee Convention, is a United Nations multilateral treaty that defines who is a refugee, and sets out the rights of individuals who are granted asylum and the responsibilities of nations that grant asylum. The Convention was approved at a special United Nations conference on 28 July 1951. Denmark was the first state to ratify the treaty on 4 December 1952, which entered into force on 22 April 1954. It was initially limited to protecting European refugees from before 1 January 1951 (after World War II), though states could make a declaration that the provisions would apply to refugees from other places. The 1967 Protocol removed the time limits and applied to refugees “without any geographic limitation”, but declarations previously made by parties to the Convention on geographic scope were grandfathered.
As at 1 July 2013, there were 145 parties to the Convention, and 146 to the Protocol.
In any refugee crisis, such as the large numbers who have recently left war-torn Syria, their protection and eventual resettlement is the main concern.
I recently heard of a wonderful new initiative in the San Francisco Bay Area in the United States. It is very appropriately called the 1951 Coffee Company.
The 1951 Coffee Company was founded in 2015 in the spirit of the 1951 convention to give refugees being resettled in the San Francisco Bay Area assistance in starting their new lives through training and employment in the rapidly expanding coffee industry. The very best of luck to all those concerned.