In international law, a refugee is anyone “owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his [or her] nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself [or herself] of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his [or her] former habitual residence, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.”
This definition was expanded by the OAU in 1969 to also include “every person who, owing to external aggression, occupation, foreign domination or events seriously disturbing public order in either part or the whole of his country of origin or nationality, is compelled to leave his place of habitual residence in order to seek refuge in another place outside his country of origin or nationality.”
Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, 189 UNTS 150, 28 July 1951
Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa, 1001 UNTS 45, 10 September 1974.
 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, 189 UNTS 150, 28 July 1951, article 1