How to practice your religion without the fear of being persecuted. (PART 3)

The last time I have wrote about religious persecution, what constitutes persecution, and how future persecution may not be avoidable even when one practices his/her religion discreetly and becomes a “pseudo-hypocrite” outside their homes in order to avoid persecution.

By now you should know that the only way for you to practice your religion publicly without being persecuted is by migrating to another country that either does not endorse a state religion or that their state religion is in favor with your beliefs, but not many people have the requirements to be recognized as a legal migrants to most countries (college degree holders/wealthy investors/migrants with exceptional skills). The other option for people to relocate or migrate is to enter a country either as a legal “tourist” or illegally by boat and apply for asylum according to the UNHCR’s 1951 Refugee Convention, 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees or both.

Many people think refugees are groups of villagers fleeing war or government tyranny in their home countries, but it’s not just that. There are government whistleblowers and individuals who are persecuted because of their race, religion and nationalities who are given asylum as well. There are five characteristics that most governments give out asylum status towards:

“A refugee is a person who is outside their country of origin or habitual residence because they have suffered persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or because they are a member of a persecuted ‘social group’. Such a person may be referred to as an ‘asylum seeker’ until recognized by the state where he or she makes his or her claim.”

(Source: Wikipedia [cited from the Oxford English dictionary])

However, there are strict guidelines to whom the refugee/asylum claims are given out to. Most countries do an assessment on applicants on whether a person is a genuine refugee or not by using the “Well-Founded Fear” evaluation points. Reasons for this is to distinguish between those who are genuine in their fear of persecution and those who use the “refugee” claims just to abuse the immigration laws of a certain country so that they could reap the benefits given to genuine refugees such as a permanent resident’s benefit of residing, working and receiving welfare of that country without being detained and subjected to removal.

There are however cases where genuine refugees were denied of their claims because they did not present valid evidences pertaining to their claims, inconsistencies in their statements or did not show any evidence of a “well-founded fear” for their claims of past or future persecutions.

Below is a link to a PDF file from the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) for their asylum officer’s basic training in evaluating applicants for “well-founded fear” of future persecution. This is however not a legal advice or a cheat sheet for people to make false refugee claims, but you can use it as a guide as to how asylum officers evaluate refugee claims so that those of you who are fleeing your country of residence seeking refugee status elsewhere know what information you should provide your interviewing asylum officers with as to lower down your chances of getting your first claims rejected, and to decide if you are genuinely eligible for a refugee claim, because just by merely possessing one of the five protected grounds of character without fearing persecution will get you rejected instantly.

USCIS definition and eligibility of “Well-Founded Fear”

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