Foundations of Migration and Human Security

Key terms on the foundations of migration and human security. For more terms, please see the Key Terms page.

Human Security: Human security argues that seeking the security of the individual or community, as defined by that individual or community, is as important–and sometimes more important–as seeking the security of the state. Human security is person-centric, context-specific, multi-dimensional, and preventative. For more information, see "Key Concepts: Defining Human Security."

Migrant: broadly defined, a migrant is anyone "on the move"; it includes international migrants, or persons who leaves their country of origin to seek residence in another country.

Refugee: The 1951 Convention Related to the Status of Refugees provides the legal status of refugee to an individual who has left their country of origin and is unable or unwilling to return due to a fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, social group, or political opinion. (See key concepts for expanded categories and characteristics.)

Internally Displaced Person (IDP): A person who has left their home community either by force or choice in order to flee armed conflict, natural disasters or consequences of human rights violations, but has not crossed an international state border.

Displacement: The forced or pressured movement of persons from their residence and home communities, as a result of or in response to “the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or natural or human-made disasters.” (International Organization for Migration)

Durable Solutions: A displaced person achieves a durable solution to their displacement when they no longer require assistance or protection for reasons related to displacement. Durable solutions can be achieved through sustainable return, local integration in place of refuge, or resettlement. An individuals physical, material and legal safety are requirements for a durable solution to be guaranteed. For more information on durable solutions for internally displaced persons, see here.

Environmental Migrant: A migrant who has been forced to leave or chose to leave their place of origin largely as a result of negative environmental change impacts. These impacts do not necessarily have to be related to climate change consequences.

Climate Migration: Migration of an individual or group in response to sudden or cumulative environmental changes related to climate change. Climate migration may be an adaptation measure or a pressured decision as a result of natural or man-made disasters.

Country of Origin: The country where a migrant person or group holds nationality, or where they resided before migrating.

Country of Transit: The country that migrants pass through on their journey between country of origin and country of destination. Due to the extended time it can take to reach the country of destination, migrants may find themselves in a country of transit for extended periods of time while the intention is to remain there only temporarily.

Country of Destination: The country identified by migrants as the destination of their journey. For the case of internally displaced persons, the term used is “place of destination.”