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Background

Background

A refugee is a person who has fled home and country to escape death, mistreatment or persecution due to religion, race/ethnic heritage, political beliefs or nationality.

Many countries give refugees safe harbor throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and increasingly, Latin America. An unprecedented 65.3 million people around the world have been displaced -- among them, nearly 21.3 million refugees. Over half of the 21.3 million are under the age of 18; 72% women, and children.

Nearly five million people have left Syria; they form the majority of refugees worldwide.

This is the largest number of affected people since the end of World War II. The 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention included a treaty that protects refugees from being returned to their countries if they are at risk of persecution there;

However, the crush of refugees now landing in nearby countries has closed borders, causing refugees to move from country to country before finding a place to settle. Almost half find themselves in refugee camps where they can easily end up staying for years under deplorable conditions.

Less than 1% of refugees get the opportunity to relocate to a new country where they can attempt to re-establish their lives in a new, safe environment. Globally, refugees come from 79 countries facing war or civil conflict, with most coming from Congo, Burma, Syria, Iraq and Somalia.  The largest number of today's refugees, nearly 5 million are Syrian.