The Duke Human Rights Center @ FHI uses the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as the basis for all its programming. Below are specific articles in the UDHR and a description about how the article pertains to refugee issues.

Human Rights and Refugee Issues

All people are entitled to the same human rights, so one’s status as a refugee may not interfere with these rights. Many refugees face constant threats to their freedoms and rights daily in their home countries. There are many foreign countries in which groups of people are persecuted and oppressed, forcing them to flee. While some find liberty in the U.S. and are able to connect with people with similar experiences and seek aid from humanitarian organizations, others are not as lucky.

such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Reiterates that the human rights outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are inalienable. Refugees may not be discriminated against on the basis of the “international status of the country or territory to which [they belong]” or other factors such as race, language, or religion. This article is vital in addressing the injustices that often continue to darken the lives of refugees in the U.S. Many refugees face workplace discrimination or discrimination in the hiring process due to prejudices against their nationality or language barriers. This discrimination is not unique to the workplace, but can occur in many settings.

Refugees are entitled to security no matter the country they are in. This includes freedom from torture or wrongful imprisonment.

Oftentimes, people are forced to assume a refugee status because they have endured inhumane treatment in their home country. This article highlights that everyone has a right to a life of safety and freedom, validating people’s desire to leave their home countries in order to find a better, safer life.

When a refugee leaves their country of origin and enters a new country, they may not be deprived of their personhood. They are entitled to personhood without respect to borders. Supports the idea that all people deserve to be recognized and treated as a person no matter where they are or what their legal status may be. Regardless of if they are in their home country, a refugee camp, or the U.S., they have this right.

All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

When considered before the law of a country, a person may not be discriminated against as a result of their refugee status. Enhances the idea that all people deserve to not be discriminated against, both in their home country and in the U.S. Many refugees face both intentional and unintentional discrimination in their home countries due to political/religious/cultural struggles and differences. Sometimes they are even discriminated against in the U.S. because of pre-existing prejudices.

A country or government may not ban a person from their native country, forcing them to become a refugee and never return. Shows how refugees shouldn’t be taken advantage of or persecuted unjustly or randomly. Many xenophobic or racist beliefs can drive people to treat immigrants and refugees unjustly, assuming that they’re criminals just because of where they come from, leading to unfounded persecution.

A person must be able to move freely within a country, with the right to leave and return at any time — giving refugees and migrants the right to travel and seek safety. Some foreign countries allow for the persecution of certain groups of people, which can often include attempting to chase them out of the country. Even more, many American areas with little diversity can often be opposed to refugee resettlement.

All people are afforded the right to properly seek asylum in countries other than their own if they are experiencing persecution. This helps refugees find safety.

Refugees must not be forced to become stateless people. They are entitled to a nationality and the rights that accompany this from either their native country or new country.

This right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

No person must be forced to become a refugee as a result of persecution on the basis of their religion or thought.

No person must be forced to become a refugee as a result of persecution on the basis of their opinion or expression. Some people are persecuted for their religious or political beliefs in their home countries, preventing them from being able to freely express themselves or adhere to their beliefs. There is also a considerable amount of discrimination that many refugees face when coming to the U.S. and practicing their religion. Some areas are less diverse than others and thus have lower levels of religious tolerance.

and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Whether in their home country or country of resettlement, all people, regardless of citizenship status, should have the safety net of social security to provide basic necessities (such as food and shelter) especially when faced with unemployment, old age, and/or illness.

including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

A refugee must not be deprived of a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of themselves and their family when seeking safety from persecution. They are always entitled to adequate care despite their country of residence. Many refugees flee their home due to extreme poverty that makes it very difficult to survive. Many parents are unable to sustain their family and thus flee their country in hopes of finding a better life for themselves and their children. 

Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

A refugee must not be deprived of their right to free and accessible education when seeking safety from persecution. Children are always entitled to elementary education despite their country of residence. Many foreign countries have rules banning certain groups of people from obtaining an education, while others have areas so deeply entrenched in poverty that they are unable to obtain an education.

Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

This can apply to refugees in their home countries, as many are forced to flee due to a lack of acceptance of their people. For example, many countries have highly sexist laws preventing women from truly participating in public life. On the other hand, many refugees face social alienation when coming to the U.S.