Every person has the
right to live free from persecution, or the fear of persecution,
based on their race, religion,
nationality, membership in a particular
social group, or political opinion.
Though every government is obligated to provide this
right, many fail. Every year millions of people face persecution for
traits they cannot control
or exercising their religious or political beliefs. When governments
fail to protect these rights, people have the right to move to a country
that will protect them. This is
the right to
asylum. People who seek to exercise this right are
called "asylum seekers" or, in some cases, "refugees." In
1951, the formal basis for exercising the right to asylum was established
an interational treaty, the Geneva Convention
Relating to the Status of Refugees. Countries signing that Convention
have an obligation to provide asylum or refuge to people fleeing persecution.
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