The notion of who does and doesn’t qualify for refugee status is one many countries grapple with.

The formal, internationally recognized, definition of a refugee is set out in the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which established the rights of people seeking asylum in a country other than their own and the responsibilities of countries that grant asylum.

Approved at a United Nations conference in 1951 and brought into force in 1954, the convention initially sought to codify the rights of refugees in post-war Europe. In 1967, the convention was amended to include a protocol that broadened its geographical purview. There are currently 147 countries, including Canada, that have ratified the convention, the protocol or both.

The definition of a refugee, as laid out in Section 1(A) of the convention, is:

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