Why do refugees use irregular routes to flee? Is it illegal?

The routes and means refugees use to flee vary from person to person and oftentimes require multiple means of transportation. Refugees are fleeing conflict, war, or persecution and often do not have time to even pack a bag.

The routes and means refugees use to flee vary from person to person and oftentimes require multiple means of transportation. Refugees are fleeing conflict, war, or persecution and often do not have time to even pack a bag.

The situation in their home country often makes it extremely difficult (or even impossible) to obtain valid travel documentation (such as a passport or a visa). Thus, in the absence of safe and regular opportunities, many are forced to undertake irregular routes to access protection.

According to International Human Rights Law, all people have the right to seek asylum, hence seeking protection through irregular routes should not be criminalised. In other words, refugees cannot be punished for entering a country irregularly to apply for asylum.