Photographer : Joseph Wenkoff
In a political context, asylum is when a government grants somebody refugee status and immunity from extradition.
The terms refugee and asylum seeker are often used interchangeably because most refugees are at some point asylum seekers. An asylum seeker is someone who makes a claim for asylum in a country other than their own. Under Australian Law, the rights of asylum seekers are more restricted than the rights of refugees in relation to movement (where they can travel to), employment, health care and social security. People move from asylum seeker status to refugee status once the country they have applied for asylum in accepts their claim.
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) defines citizenship, or nationality (both terms are used interchangeably), as:
"a legal bond between a state and that country’s laws and an individual. It encompasses political, economic, social and other rights as well as the responsibilities of both government and citizen."
Citizenship in Australia
The Australian Citizenship Act 1948 defines Australian Citizenship as representing:
"formal membership of the community of the Commonwealth of Australia; and Australian citizenship is a common bond, involving reciprocal rights and obligations, uniting all Australians, while respecting their diversity; and persons granted Australian citizenship enjoy these rights and undertake to accept these obligations by pledging loyalty to Australia and its people, and by sharing their democratic beliefs, and by respecting their rights and liberties, and by upholding and obeying the laws of Australia."
The term economic migrant is often confused with the term refugee, but it is simply a label for a migrant moving with the aim of bettering their economic status.
An illegal immigrant is someone who has moved from one state to another without any legal claim, such as a visa or a claim for asylum. Asylum seekers are not illegal immigrants. They are applying for asylum, which means they are complying with Australian law.
Immigration Detention Centre (IDC)
IDCs are facilities in which people are housed or detained. The majority of people housed or detained in IDCs in Australia are those who have breached their visa conditions, often by overstaying their visa, and those who have been apprehended without any visa or the correct type of visa at an international airport in Australia.
Immigration Detention Facility (IDF)
IDFs are facilities in which people are housed or detained. They house and detain the same kinds of people held in IDCs and IRPCs.
Immigration Reception and Processing Centre (IRPC)
IRPCs are facilities in which people are housed or detained. In Australia, IRPCs are primarily used to house/detain people who have arrived by boat and do not have pre-approved entry from the government.
Internally Displaced People (IDPs)
IDPs leave their homes for similar reasons as refugees (see below), but for whatever reason, they remain in their own state and are therefore still subject to that state’s rule. They are not afforded human rights protection by their own government.
Unlike refugees, migrants do not fear persecution from their home state. Instead, they make a conscious decision to move and have the freedom to return to their state of origin if they wish. Should a migrant choose this option, they have no fear of persecution on their return.
These terms refer to those people who have been pre-approved by a government and given assistance (offshore) before going to a new state, and those who are apply for refugee protection once in a new state (onshore).
Generally, persecution refers to harassment or punishment based on a person’s race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, political opinion, membership of a particular social group, or beliefs. However, in the context of refugee status there is little agreement on what constitutes persecution. That being said, a threat to life or other serious human rights violations are generally regarded as persecution. Governments are given the freedom to classify lesser threats or discrimination as insufficient for qualifying for refugee status.
In an Australian context, the Department of Immigration sets an amount of new immigrants allowed into Australia each year. The amount is made up of both an offshore and onshore component (see above). The Australian Government has said that for every person who arrives in Australia above the allocated number for onshore people, they will deduct one person from the offshore component. Thus, people who claim asylum once they are in Australia are seen as 'jumping the queue' of those in the offshore component. For various reasons, people who claim asylum once in Australia often do not have the opportunity to apply offshore. Often the country they are coming from does not support the program, or they face persecution over their reasons for applying. Applying for asylum once in Australia is not illegal, it is in line with UN protocol.
The 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees defines a refugee as 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..."
What this means is a refugee is someone who is outside their home country because they believe they could be punished or harassed for the reasons listed above and cannot be protected by their government.
Residential Housing Project
These are flexible housing systems in which people are housed or detained. They are a special provision made for women and children and allow for a family-style living situtation whilst still remaining in immigration detention.
A State is not just an area within a country, like New South Wales or Queensland. It is also any politically organised federation of people, under one government, usually residing in a specified land or territory. Countries and nations are classified states.
A stateless person is someone who does not belong as a citizen to any state. Whilst a stateless person may also be a refugee, this is not always the case. For example, a person may leave their home state without persecution. Some people are also born into statelessness due to their parents either being stateless themselves, or unable to register the birth of their child.
How do I know this?
Australian Citizenship Act 1948, http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/...