Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 June 2012
Overview of grounds
Article 1A(2) of the Refugee Convention defines a refugee in terms of the reasons why a person fears being persecuted. A refugee must have a well-founded fear of being persecuted ‘for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion’. After referring to Article 1 of the Convention, Gummow J explained in Applicant A v MIEA:
…[w]hilst as a matter of ordinary usage, a refugee might be one whose flight has been from invasion, earthquake, flood, famine or pestilence, the definition is not concerned with such persons. Accordingly, care is needed in resolving any apparent obscurity in the text of the definition by seeing the definition as reflecting, in a broad sense, humanitarian concerns for displaced persons.
Kirby J commented in the same case that the drafters of the Convention would not have included ‘categories of persecution’ in Article 1A(2) had they intended refugees to be defined as people who feared persecution for any reason.