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Refugee, Migrant, IDP: What's the Difference?

We are living in a time of unprecedented human displacement. More than 65 million people worldwide have been forced to flee their homes — the majority of them children. Most recently more than half a million Rohingya people have crossed into Bangladesh since the summer. 

A long queue in front of Mainerghona food distribution center in Cox's Bazar Bangladesh

With more than half a million Rohingya refugees fleeing their homes in Myanmar it is important to note the difference between refugee, migrant and IDPs. So what exactly defines a refugee as opposed to just a migrant? And what special rights and privileges do refugees have, and why? We thought it was time to break down some of these terms, and show how the legal differences between them can have life-changing consequences.






Concern is on the ground providing 48,000 Rohingya refugees with food rations and are working to ensure lifesaving nutrition support for 100,000, mainly children, pregnant and breastfeeding women. We aim to provide water, shelter and ongoing food assistance to more than 100,000 people. The more we do now to help, the more lives we can save.