Asylum-seekers in Europe

The group of asylum-seekers is not a homogeneous one, but in all vulnerable. Displaced from their homes, in flight from persecution, often suffering after mental and physical violence, they seek sanctuary in other countries that are free of war, violence and armed conflict. Yet on arrival in Europe – or other countries as well - their health often deteriorates. Asylum-seekers have a higher risk of getting mental illness due to the fact that they often have been exposed to extreme conditions, forced migration and large personal loss and other Human Rights violations - and just due to the fact that they are refugees in a foreign country, may be with another culture, and unfamiliar codices. They often suffer of Post Traumatic Stress Disease PTSD, depression, anxiety. There are (depending on the study) between 10 and 20 % of all asylum-seekers suffering of such psychiatric symptoms.

People that need asylum are often met with stricter enforcement of who to grant asylum in order to try to restrict the flow of asylum-seekers. The process of screening asylum-seekers to decide who is eligible or not for asylum will often worsen their mental health situation.

Some basic definitions on refugees, and articles about the current status of asylum-seekers in Europe
Asylum-seekers and (mental) health
Children and underage asylum-seekers
Female asylum-seekers
Organisations and Sites

Some basic definitions on refugees, and articles about the current status of asylum-seekers in Europe

  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights – Art. 14
    The first international document recognizing the right to seek and enjoy asylum from prosecution. – United Nations, dec. 1948.
  • Convention relating to the Status of Refugees
    In this convention the UN frames the important topics how refugees are to be treated, referring to juridical status, employment, welfare and other subjects. – UN, General Assembly resolution 429, entry into force april 1954.
  • Refugees and Displaced Persons
    Very solid and comprehensive information on this topic. The website also provides with the basic legal framework, agencies, as well as education and training materials by lots of quite useful links. – HREA, 2010.
  • The Exclusion of Asylum Seekers in Europe
    The article discusses mechanisms of exclusion, practiced by a number of European states, and the associated costs. – Liza Schuster, Centre of Migration, Policy and Society, Univ. of Oxford, 2004.
  • Guidelines on the Treatment of Iraqi Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Europe - 2007
    This paper (30 p.) is in response to the treatment of Iraqi asylum seekers and refugees in Europe, it discusses the background of decisions in whether asylum is granted (or not), and criticises some principles in handling this problem. – ECRE 2007.
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Asylum-seekers and (mental) health

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Children and underage asylum-seekers

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Female asylum-seekers

  • UNHCR Handbook for the Protection of Women and Girls
    Solid handbook (164 p.) discussing the specific problems occurring for women and girls, especially as refugees. Recommendations how awareness can be increased in the helpers, and the target group can be helped better. No special focus on mental health. – UNHCR, 2006.
  • Women's Refugee Commission
    This Commission advocates for laws, policies, and programs to improve the lives and protect the rights of refugee and internally displaced women, including those seeking asylum. – Women`s Refugee Commission, 2010.
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Organisations and Sites


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