Who is an asylum seeker? 

A person who is looking for a safe place outside her/his own country. People seek asylum if they fear persecution in their own country because of their ethnicity, nationality, religion, social group or political opinion.


What is our obligation to people seeking asylum?

The UK signed the 1951 UN Convention Relating to Refugees and has agreed to allow people to enter the country to apply for asylum here. They have a legal right to be here while their application is considered. Equally, anyone from this country may seek asylum in any other country that has signed the convention.


Who is a refugee?

Someone who applies for asylum, and is successful in being granted refugee status. ‘Refugee’ is also sometimes used as a general term for people who have been displaced from their homes through persecution, civil unrest and war. 


For more frequently asked questions about asylum see EMBRACE leaflet Who’s Who? Who’s Here? [pdf]

For more detailed information see the EMBRACE booklet Refugees in Northern Ireland: Some Basic Facts , the Law Centre NI briefing for MLAs, June 2014, Refugee Issues in Northern Ireland and Michael Potter’s Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Northern Ireland, NI Research and Information Service, 2014. See also Forced to Flee 3rd edition published by the Refugee Action Group.

For first hand accounts of the experiences of people seeking asylum locally read the Community Dialogue publication, Conversations Around the Kitchen Table