What is the difference between a refugee and an asylum seeker?

Ah, definitions can be tricky– but absolutely vital. Just what is the difference between say, a refugee and an economic migrant? Or an asylum seeker? For some very quick answers…


What If…

Professor Francois Crepeau, refugee expert, was standing on a beach where thousands of refugees die to cross to safety each year. He asked the official by his side,

“But why doesn’t IOM fund a ferry service? No one would die, the smuggling industry would be dead, you would get to register everyone. Maybe you could ask for 200 euros per person, they’re paying more to smugglers anyway, that would pay for the ferries and you would be able to inform them of the situation, you would be able to detect protection needs, people who are being trafficked, minors who shouldn’t be there, people who have health issues. You would be able to do so much work and this would pay for itself. What’s the problem?” And the answer was a little smile, and then: “I don’t think the member states of IOM would approve of such a plan.”  

By Gabrielle Jackson. [More from The Guardian]