The Concept of Refugee
African refugees represent a fair cross-section of society. They may be individuals or small groups of adults of varying social and political backgrounds such as politicians, members of the armed forces or police, the learned professions, businessmen, civil servants, students and others from urban centres. A typical large rural exodus moving across an international border is composed predominantly of adult females and children. The issue of identity of the refugee has been considered at international level in much more detail in respect of the suffering masses who fled their homelands during the two world wars. The earlier International Instruments adopted in the 1920s and 1930s applied the concept of ‘Refugee’ to specifically enumerated categories of persons who needed international assistance. Refugee Status is granted to individuals according to set criteria, the basic elements of which are clearly specified in the definition of refugee as contained in the UN Refugee Convention.