The 1951 Geneva Convention defined as refugee someone who has a “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 or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country”.
The Convention Related to the Status of Refugees (the Convention) defines a refugee as a person who has crossed international borders as a result of a “well-founded fear of being persecuted” on account of their religious, political, sexual, or other social identity, and whose country will not or cannot protect them or may in fact be the body that is persecuting them (United Nations General Assembly, 1951).
Asylum seekers are people who “left their country of origin, have sought international protection, have applied to be recognized as a refugee and are awaiting a decision from the host government” (UNHCR, 2016, p.4).
Integration, in its broadest sense, refers to inclusion and participation, both economically and socially. Although the focus is often on how refugees change to integrate, successful integration requires a social context that supports inclusion and participation.
ARA recognizes that refugee protection includes “the ability to lead a meaningful and dignified life while in exile; and that this requires the empowerment of refugees to attain self-reliance…”
ARA’s activities to promote refugee integration fall within the above outline of definitions of refugees and asylum seekers.
ARA’s refugee integration aims:
Promote social integration services to enable refugees to access the support and services they need and is able to exercise their rights
Providing advocacy and social mobilization by highlighting the conditions and needs of refugees and asylum seekers.
Supporting and matching migrant skills with economic and job opportunities
Raising awareness to end ‘undocumented’ migrants and refugees in Africa by ensuring refugees are registered and possess appropriate documentation;
Combating intolerance, xenophobia, stereotypes, discrimination and prejudice against refugees.
Sensitizing citizens to the plight and rights of refugees, with a view to fostering understanding and acceptance of their presence, and raising awareness of the positive contribution that refugees can make to their host communities and societies.
Ensuring that refugees are adequately occupied by allowing refugees to work, farm or manage small businesses, providing access to education facilities, vocational training programmes, cultural activities, market days, sporting and religious activities, etc.
Contribute to influencing refugee integration policy to enhance refugees’ ability to participate socially and economically.
Outcomes of refugee integration services
Refugees have access to rights, education, employment and economic opportunities and are able to exercise them to pursue full and independent lives.
Appropriate support is available to access further and higher education, and educational and cultural resources are promoted for young refugees and asylum seekers, and those working with them.
The practices and policies that increase refugee’s social integration and equal rights are developed and implemented
Refugees obtain the necessary Identity and immigration documentation
Refugees have access to physical and health services and promoting their use.