Refugee - The 1951 Refugee Convention defines a refugee as someone who is "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." In other words, such a person fears to be tortured, or even murdered, if he or she stays within their country of origin and therefore has to cross an international border. An asylum-seeker is someone who says he or she is a refugee, but whose claim has not yet been definitively evaluated. For more information, please consult the website of UNHCR.
Refugees with a temporary residence permit - Asylum is regulated by the Aliens Act 2000, which includes the following categories of individuals as eligible for protection: Article 29:
- A residence permit for a fixed period as mentioned in Article 28 may be granted to an alien:
- who is a Convention refugee (the 1951 Refugee Convention determines that someone is a refugee when s/he has 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 or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country")
- who has shown substantial grounds for believing that s/he, if returned to his or her country of origin, would face a real risk of 1°. the death penalty or execution; 2°. torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in the country of origin; or 3°. a serious and individual threat to a civilian's life or person by reason of indiscriminate violence in situations of international or internal armed conflict;
Relief aid or emergency aid - Relief aid or emergency aid focus on direct needs of people after or during a disaster or violent conflict: water, food, medical assistance, hygiene. An example would be the distribution of food packets.
Reparation - "The essential principle contained in the actual notion of an illegal act is that reparation must, as far as possible, wipe out all the consequences of the illegal act and re-establish the situation which would, in all probability, have existed if that act had not been committed." (Quote from the Chorzow Factory case at the Permanent Court of International Justice)
Resettlement - The option of resettlement is only available to a small minority of refugees. In 2014, the UNHCR launched appeals to member states to volunteer to take at least 30,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2014 and then another 100,000 for 2015 and 2016. Thus far, the international community has not been very forthcoming in meeting these targets and recently the UNHCR has been especially critical of the EU for having accepted only 124,000 refugees, less than 4 percent of all Syrian refugees.
RPF Policy of National Unity and Reconciliation - Ever since the genocide in Rwanda ended on July 4, 1994, the main task of the RPF-led government has been to deal with its legacies. With the aim to rebuild an ethnically disintegrated society, the RPF established The National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC), a national institution that has assisted the government in restoring tranquility, erasing the negative consequences of the genocide, combatting discrimination and establishing a feeling of national unity. Fundamental to the NURC’s approach to unification has been the discourse on pre-colonial unity. This discourse focuses on how Rwanda thrived in peace and unity during pre-colonial times. In this manner, the NURC has tried to sensitize the population for the existence of only one Rwandan identity.
RPF-led government - The Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) has been the ruling political party in Rwanda ever since the genocide ended in 1994. Its current president, Paul Kagame, was also the leader of the rebel organization that defeated the genocidal government. Therefore, many Rwandans appreciate him as the savior of the country. Because the main purpose of RPF has been to restore unity in Rwanda, the government established “The National Unity and Reconciliation Commission” (NURC) in 1999: a national institution aimed at assisting the government in restoring tranquility, erasing the negative consequences of the genocide, combatting discrimination and establishing a feeling of national unity. In 2003, the RPF established a new constitution and, for the first time, held national elections. The consensus amongst Rwandans in favour of Paul Kagame and the RPF seemed great. In 2003, Paul Kagame and the RPF received 95,1 percent of the votes and in 2010, the same party received 93,08 percent. On the one hand, this supposedly successful political transition to democracy has been highly praised by the international community. On the other hand, there has been a lot of criticism on the authoritarianism of the RPF, vocalized mainly by international scholars and NGOs. This criticism is grounded in the idea that there has never been a successful transition to democracy: only a transition from one authoritarian regime into another.