Refugees by numbers

* Refugee: A refugee is defined in article 1(a) of the 1951 Refugee Convention as a person who, owing to a 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 (or former habitual residence) and is unable or unwilling to return for fear of persecution.

* Asylum seeker: A refugee who seeks permission to stay in another country is an asylum seeker. They apply for recognition under article 1A(2) of the Refugee Convention.

* Convention refugee: If an asylum seeker is granted refugee status, he or she is referred to as a convention refugee or a recognised refugee. Their rights include the right to work and the right to elementary education.

* De facto refugee: Also known as humanitarian status. In recent years governments have recognised fewer asylum seekers as convention refugees. Instead some asylum seekers are given permission to remain in a country on humanitarian grounds. Such de facto refugees are more vulnerable to arbitrary decisions by governments and do not automatically enjoy the same rights as convention refugees.

Source of statistics: Refugees by Numbers from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees,

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