Jonah and Socrates as Refugees: Repentance, Redemption and Responsibility

Authored by: Howard Adelman

The Ashgate Research Companion to Migration Law, Theory and Policy

Print publication date:  March  2013
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9780754671886
eBook ISBN: 9781315613239
Adobe ISBN: 9781317042648


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In the current definition of a refugee – more specifically a Convention Refugee rather than simply someone fleeing war or generalized ethnic and religious communal violence – refugees are defined as persons who, by reason of a well-founded fear of persecution, for reason of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group, are unable or unwilling to return to their countries of birth or habitual residence. They are motivated by fear and must declare that they cannot or will not return to their homelands. It is a definition that arose out of the peculiar circumstances at the beginning of the cold war and the desire to protect those who did not want to return to the lands of the Soviet Empire where they faced incarceration and possibly torture or even death. The definition was expedient, served a very positive purpose at the time, and has been expanded upon to allow the protection of many others. But this depiction of a refugee denigrates the refugees and defines them as essentially motivated by fear. It also characterizes them as abandoning their homelands.

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