The United Nations (UN) High Commission for Refugees reported in June 2018 that the number of people fleeing war, violence, and persecution in 2017 had reached 68.5 million—a record high for the fifth straight year. Ongoing crises in South Sudan, Congo, and Myanmar drove the number of refugees upward. Of the total number of displaced people, 16.2 million were newly displaced. Turkey remained the country hosting the largest number of refugees with 3.5 million, most of them Syrians fleeing the civil war in their country.

The 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees—the cornerstone of international law on refugees—defines a refugee as a person who: "Owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality,...

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