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Education: Glossary

Forced Migrants: Persons who leave their place of habitual residence involuntarily, due to persecution, economic hardship, war or civil conflict, or natural or manmade disaster. Among the kinds of forced migrants are asylum seekers and victims of human trafficking, convention refugees, economic migrants, and Internally Displaced Persons.

Convention Refugee: (definition was updated in 1967) a person who is outside the country of their nationality or habitual residence; has a well-founded fear of persecution because of his or her race, religion, nationality membership of a particular social group or political opinion; and is unable or unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of that country, or to return there, for fear of persecution.

Refugees as defined by Catholic Social Teaching: In addition to convention refugees, Catholic teaching suggests that de facto refugees (who are victims of armed conflicts, misguided economic policy or natural disasters), and internally displaced persons (who are uprooted from their homes without having crossed an international frontier) should also be recognized as refugees and accorded international protection.

Asylum Seekers: People who have moved across an international border in search of the protection guaranteed to Convention refugees, but whose claim for refugee status has not yet been determined.

Forced Economic Migrants: Persons who seek to live and work in a country other than their country of origin due to a lack of economic opportunity there or better opportunities in another country. Those who become migrants due to necessity due to significant economic hardship are called forced economic migrants. When such hardships are imposed selectively by a government as a form or persecution forced economic migrants may also be convention refugees.

IDPs: Internally displaced persons are "persons or groups of persons who have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or natural or human-made disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognized State border." (Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, Introduction, para. 2)

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