Who Is an Asylum Seeker?
The word “asylum” is the Latin counterpart of the Greek word “asylon,” which means freedom from seizure.
Historically, asylum has been regarded as a place of refuge where one could be free from the reach of a pursuer. Before the establishment of nation-states and the national laws that recognize the right to asylum, the idea was found in the religious laws, traditions, and practices of many societies, making it a “remarkably constant feature of human history.”
Individuals who seek refugee status or any other form of protection are called “asylum seekers.” When asylum seekers are granted refugee status, they are then referred to as refugees.
An internationally accepted definition of an ‘’asylum seeker’’ may be found in various United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) documents.
According to the UNHCR:
“asylum seekers are individuals who have sought international protection and whose claims for refugee status have not yet been determined.”