The 1951 UN Convention on Refugees established the moral and legal duty of signatories to protect individuals who have fled persecution because of their race, religion, nationality or membership of a particular social or political group.  The Convention defines a refugee as a person who:

“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…” (Article 1, The 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees).

The UK ratified the UN Convention on Refugees in 1954.  In legal terms, a person is recognised as a refugee only when their claim for asylum has been accepted by the Home Office, which has primary responsibility for the asylum and immigration system in the UK.  For more details on the 1951 Convention, please visit the UNHCR website by clicking here.

COSLA recognises the positive contribution that refugees can make to our society and has worked in partnership with the Scottish Government and the Scottish Refugee Council to develop the New Scots refugee integration strategy.  The strategy is being delivered over a three-year period (2014 – 2017) and aims to ensure that refugees are offered safety in Scotland, afforded respect and given assistance to integrate into our communities.