Changing faces, shaping places - Is there a choice?
- What is an asylum seeker?
- Why are people having to flee from the Darfur region of Sudan?
- What geographical questions can we ask the lost boys of Sudan?
- Cultural understanding and diversity
What is an asylum seeker?
It is important to understand the different types of migrants that come to the UK as words such as refugee, asylum seeker, migrant, are often used in the media without a common understanding of the terms. International law defines a refugee as a person who has fled from and/or cannot return to their country due to a well-founded fear of persecution, including war or civil conflict. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) distinguishes between a refugee and other immigrants:
'Immigrants normally leave a country voluntarily to seek a better life. Should immigrants decide to return home, they would continue to receive the protection of their government and be safe from persecution. However, refugees flee because of the threat of persecution and cannot return safely because of dangerous circumstances in their home countries.'
The Refugee Council provides the following definitions:
A person who has left their country of origin and formally applied for asylum in another country but whose application has not yet been decided.
Someone whose asylum application has been successful and who is allowed to stay in another country having been proved they would face persecution back home.
Failed Asylum Seeker
A person whose asylum application has failed and who has no other protection claim awaiting a decision. Some refused asylum seekers voluntarily return home, others are forcibly returned and for some it is not safe or practical for them to return until conditions in their country change.
Someone whose entry into or presence in a country contravenes immigration laws.
Someone who has moved to another country to work.
Other useful multimedia resources which may be used in this section and show the challenges faced by different types of migrants moving to another country:
UNHCR interactive game Against All Odds
Teachers Media programme Migrant Stories. This programme shows moving stories about refugees, asylum seekers and economic migrants. The personal accounts bring these labels to life in the classroom, showing the pupils what it is like to be a foreigner trying to make the best of living your life in another country.
Why are people having to flee from the Darfur region of Sudan?
The ongoing war in Darfur began on 2 February 2003 between the Sudanese military and Janjaweed on one side and rebel non-Arab ethnic groups on the other. The UN estimate that over 400,000 deaths have occurred due to violence and disease and that two million have been displaced. These have largely been a result of villages being destroyed and burned and many have fled to refugee camps in both Darfur and Chad.
See the Wikipedia entries for the War in Darfur and the History of Darfur for more information.
What is an asylum seeker?
Answer the true or false questions on the worksheet to check your understanding of what is meant by an asylum seekers, and of some of the issues surrounding these groups of people. You can find out how many you got right by taking a look at the answer sheet. The answer sheet also provides a bit more information about each of the issues raised, so make sure you read the captions carefully. You might like to cut them out and stick them into your book, along with your score for the task.
Fleeing from Darfur
In this activity, you will be using Google Earth to investigate why people are having to flee from Darfur, a region of the Sudan in the continent of Africa.
Use your atlas to locate the Sudan and the Darfur region.
Write two sentences to describe the location of each.
The PowerPoint presentation gives you instructions for the task, and you will find further guidelines and some questions to answer on the fleeing from Darfur worksheet. Once you have completed the worksheet, have a go at the online Darfur is Dying refugee simulation game which highlights the many difficulties faced by the refugee population in this region. In the game, you are a Darfurian refugee who must forage for water to bring back to your camp.
Write a list of the difficulties and dangers faced by these refugees.
The lost boys of Sudan
Read this article from the BBC News website. Entitled Sudan's lost boys in America, it talks about orphaned children who fled the Sudan in the 1980s because of the danger that existed in the region then, as it does now. You could also watch the trailer for the film Lost Boys of Sudan, which is on the same topic.
Today there are many orphaned children in Darfur, as there were in the 1980s. The questioning a photo worksheet gives you the opportunity to think up some geographical questions that you would like to ask an orphaned child.
Share your questions with the person sitting next to you.
Questioning a photo
Look back at the questions you came up with in the lost boys of Sudan task.
- Which of these questions would be most challenging to answer?
- Which of these questions would be least challenging to answer?
Can you find the answers to any of your questions through Internet research, using the websites you have already come across this lesson?
Discuss your thoughts and findings with the rest of the class.
Is there anything else you would like to know about asylum seekers?
Has your geographical learning this lesson altered your opinions about asylum seekers?
If so, how?