to read Jan Oberg's article published 4/26/2015, click on
In various media reports and political statements the word "refugee" is increasingly being replaced by "migrant" - hardly just a coincidence given the fact that the number of refugees, internally displaced persons and asylum-seekers has passed 50 million fellow human beings worldwide.
A migrant, according to the UN, is a person who is engaged in (seeking) a remunerative activity in a state of which he or she is not a national. A refugee is an entirely different person who is outside his or her home country because of having suffered (or feared) persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, or political opinion; because he or she is a member of a persecuted social category of persons; or because they are fleeing a war.
And a refugee has the right to seek asylum and shall not be penalised for his or her illegal entry or stay. More about the refugee conventions here.
Add to that the now often repeated but totally misleading wording - that these refugees are coming "to seek a better life" in Europe - as if their lives were already good but they want it better.
It's plain nonsense. The issue is not what they flee to but what they flee from. Refugees are on the run from some version of hell.
These boat refugees run away to another continent without shoes, money or belongings because their lives are unbearable and they have absolutely no hope. Refugees are not happiness-seekers.
Using "migrants" instead of "refugees" takes away our attention from why they flee, from our own complicity in all this and it reduces our responsibility to protect refugees.