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About Refugees and Asylum Seekers
Refugees are people who cannot return to their country of origin because of a well-founded fear of persecution, conflict, violence, or other circumstances that have seriously disturbed public order, and who, as a result, require international protection.
An asylum-seeker is someone whose request for sanctuary has yet to be processed. Every year, around one million people seek asylum.
Refugee Week 2021
Refugee Week is a UK-wide festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary. Founded in 1998 and held every year around World Refugee Day on the 20 June, Refugee Week is also a growing global movement.
The Library has many resources if you would like to find out more about Immigration and Asylum in the UK and across the world.
UNHCR - The UN Refugee Agency
Useful information includes a FAQ on Asylum in the UK, Trafficking, current Emergencies around the world, supporting refugees, and responses to government policies.
The Refugee Council
The charity was founded in 1951 in response to the UN Convention for Refugees, which was created after World War II to ensure refugees were able to find safety in other countries. Since then, the Refugee Council has provided practical and emotional support to refugees from across the world to help them rebuild their lives and play a full part in society.
1951 Refugee Convention
The 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol are the key legal documents that form the basis of the work of the UNHCR. With 149 State parties to either or both, they define the term ‘refugee’ and outlines the rights of refugees, as well as the legal obligations of States to protect them.
Migration Observatory - asylum and refugee settlement in the UK (May 2021)
This briefing examines asylum and refugee resettlement in the UK. It presents data on the number and characteristics of asylum seekers and resettled refugees, the success rate of asylum applications, and the impact of COVID-19.
Young Refugees and Asylum Seekers by
Publication Date: 2020
There are many misconceptions about young refugees and asylum seekers in Britain. Declan Henry dispels the myths and gives a compassionate and empathetic view of the daily struggles they face including discrimination, racism and poverty.
Non-fiction about refugees
Migration and immigration
Publication Date: 2019
Migration and immigration is a complex and often controversial topic, particularly in light of Brexit and the ongoing refugee crisis. This book looks at immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees. It considers the push and pull factors behind the different types of migration, our attitudes towards immigration, and the contribution migrants make to our society.
The Lightless Sky: my journey to safety as a child refugee by
Gulwali Passarlay was sent away from Afghanistan at the age of 12. Smuggled into Iran, Gulwali began a 12 month odyssey across Europe, spending time in prisons, suffering hunger, cruelty, brutality, nearly drowning in a tiny boat on the Mediterranean. Somehow he survived, and made it to Britain, no longer an innocent child but still a boy of 12. He wants to tell his story - to bring to life the plight of the thousands of men, women and children who risk their lives to leave behind the troubles of their homelands.
Inside Immigration Detention by
Publication Date: 2014
On any given day nearly 3000 foreign national citizens are detained under immigration powers in UK detention centres alone. Around the world immigrants are routinely detained in similar conditions. The institutions charged with immigrant detention are volatile and contested sites. Inside Immigration Detention lifts the lid on the hidden world of migrant detention, presenting the first national study of life in British immigration removal centres.
Immigration and Asylum Law by
Publication Date: 2021
This volume examines the law and system of control which govern immigration and asylum in the UK. It begins with the historical and legal context, explains who is subject to immigration control, and describes the legal and administrative structure of the system.
Fiction about refugees
A Very Distant Shore by
Publication Date: 2017
Lorna lives on the tiny Scottish island of Mure, a peaceful place where everyone helps their neighbour. Far away, in a crowded camp, Saif is treating a little boy with a badly-cut hand. Saif is a refugee, but he's also a doctor: exactly what Mure needs. Saif is welcome in Mure, but can he forget his past? Over one summer, Saif will find a place to call home, and Lorna's life will change forever.
Red Leaves by
Publication Date: 2014
A topical and moving novel about family, love, community, the tangled roots of history and searching for a place to call home.
No Ballet Shoes in Syria by
Publication Date: 2019
Aya is eleven years old and has just arrived in Britain with her mum and baby brother, seeking asylum from war in Syria. Aya and her family must fight to be allowed to remain in the country, to make a home for themselves, and to find Aya's father - separated from the rest of the family during the journey from Syria.
The Clothes on their Backs by
Publication Date: 2009
The brilliant novel by Orange Prize winner, Linda Grant, about the legacies of history, longlisted for the Orange Prize and shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, 2008
Find out more!
Use Issues Online to find articles and news stories on Refugees and Asylum.
Use LexisLibrary to find out about the legal side of Refugees and Asylum.
Use Discover to find journal articles on social issues relating to Asylum and Refugees.
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