Sri Lanka Population: 22,576,592


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The first Sinhalese arrived in Sri Lanka late in the 6th century B.C., probably from northern India. Buddhism was introduced circa 250 B.C., and the first kingdoms developed at the cities of Anuradhapura (from circa 200 B.C. to circa A.D. 1000) and Polonnaruwa (from about 1070 to 1200). In the 14th century, a south Indian dynasty established a Tamil kingdom in northern Sri Lanka. The Portuguese controlled the coastal areas of the island in the 16th century followed by the Dutch in the 17th century. The island was ceded to the British in 1796, became a crown colony in 1802, and was formally united under British rule by 1815. As Ceylon, it became independent in 1948; its name was changed to Sri Lanka in 1972. Prevailing tensions between the Sinhalese majority and Tamil separatists erupted into war in July 1983. Fighting between the government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) continued for over a quarter century. Although Norway brokered peace negotiations that led to a ceasefire in 2002, the fighting slowly resumed and was again in full force by 2006. The government defeated the LTTE in May 2009. During the post-conflict years under President Mahinda RAJAPAKSA, the government initiated infrastructure development projects, many of which were financed by loans from China. His regime faced significant allegations of human rights violations and a shrinking democratic space for civil society.  In 2015, a new coalition government headed by President Maithripala SIRISENA of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and Prime Minister Ranil WICKREMESINGHE of the United National Party came to power with pledges to advance economic, governance, anti-corruption, reconciliation, justice, and accountability reforms. However, implementation of these reforms has been uneven. In October 2018, President SIRISENA attempted to oust Prime Minister WICKREMESINGHE, swearing in former President RAJAPAKSA as the new prime minister and issuing an order to dissolve the parliament and hold elections. This sparked a seven-week constitutional crisis that ended when the Supreme Court ruled SIRISENA’s actions unconstitutional, RAJAPAKSA resigned, and WICKREMESINGHE was reinstated.

    Strategic location near major Indian Ocean sea lanes; Adam's Bridge is a chain of limestone shoals between the southeastern coast of India and the northwestern coast of Sri Lanka; geological evidence suggests that this 50-km long Bridge once connected India and Sri Lanka; ancient records seem to indicate that a foot passage was possible between the two land masses until the 15th century when the land bridge broke up in a cyclone
Location: Southern Asia, island in the Indian Ocean, south of India
Geographic coordinates: 7 00 N, 81 00 E
Area: total: 65,610 sq km
land: 64,630 sq km
water: 980 sq km

Size comparison: slightly larger than West Virginia
Land Boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 1,340 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate: tropical monsoon; northeast monsoon (December to March); southwest monsoon (June to October)
Terrain: mostly low, flat to rolling plain; mountains in south-central interior
Natural resources: limestone, graphite, mineral sands, gems, phosphates, clay, hydropower, arable land
Land use: agricultural land: 43.5% (2011 est.) arable land: 20.7% (2011 est.)
permanent crops: 15.8% (2011 est.) permanent pasture: 7% (2011 est.) forest: 29.4% (2011 est.)
other: 27.1% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land: 5,700 sq km (2012)
Natural hazards: occasional cyclones and tornadoes
Current Environment Issues: deforestation; soil erosion; wildlife populations threatened by poaching and urbanization; coastal degradation from mining activities and increased pollution; coral reef destruction; freshwater resources being polluted by industrial wastes and sewage runoff; waste disposal; air pollution in Colombo
International Environment Agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation
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Nationality: noun: Sri Lankan(s)
adjective: Sri Lankan
Ethnic groups: Sinhalese 74.9%, Sri Lankan Tamil 11.2%, Sri Lankan Moors 9.2%, Indian Tamil 4.2%, other 0.5% (2012 est.)
Languages: Sinhala (official and national language) 87%, Tamil (official and national language) 28.5%, English 23.8% (2012 est.) note: data represent main languages spoken by the population aged 10 years and older; shares sum to more than 100% because some respondents gave more than one answer on the census; English is commonly used in government and is referred to as the "link language" in the constitution
Religions: Buddhist (official) 70.2%, Hindu 12.6%, Muslim 9.7%, Roman Catholic 6.1%, other Christian 1.3%, other 0.05% (2012 est.)
Population: 22,576,592 (July 2018 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 23.75% (male 2,734,114 /female 2,627,695)
15-24 years: 14.6% (male 1,677,547 /female 1,618,922)
25-54 years: 41.46% (male 4,596,388 /female 4,762,913)
55-64 years: 10.22% (male 1,067,258 /female 1,239,204)
65 years and over: 9.98% (male 951,213 /female 1,301,338) (2018 est.)
Dependency ratios: total dependency ratio: 51.2 (2015 est.)
youth dependency ratio: 37.2 (2015 est.)
elderly dependency ratio: 14.1 (2015 est.)
potential support ratio: 7.1 (2015 est.)
Median age: total: 33.1 years
male: 31.8 years
female: 34.4 years (2018 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.73% (2018 est.)
Birth rate: 14.8 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Death rate: 6.3 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Net migration rate: -1.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 18.5% of total population (2018)
rate of urbanization: 0.85% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Major urban areas - population: 600,000 COLOMBO (capital)
103,000 Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte (legislative capital) (2018)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.86 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.73 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2018 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth: 25.6 years (2016 est.) note: median age at first birth among women 30-34
Maternal mortality rate: 30 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 8.2 deaths/1,000 live births male: 9.1 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 7.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 77.1 years male: 73.7 years
female: 80.8 years (2018 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.05 children born/woman (2018 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate: 61.7% (2016)
Physicians density: 0.96 physicians/1,000 population (2017)
Hospital bed density: 3.6 beds/1,000 population (2012)
Drinking water source: improved:
urban: 98.5% of population
rural: 95% of population
total: 95.6% of population

urban: 1.5% of population
rural: 5% of population
total: 4.4% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility access: improved:
urban: 88.1% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 96.7% of population (2015 est.)
total: 95.1% of population (2015 est.)

urban: 11.9% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 3.3% of population (2015 est.)
total: 4.9% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: <.1% (2017 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 3,500 (2017 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: <500 (2017 est.)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate: 5.2% (2016)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight: 20.5% (2016)
Education expenditures: 2.8% of GDP (2017)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write (2017 est.)
total population: 91.9%
male: 93%
female: 91% (2017 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 14 years male: 14 years female: 14 years (2017)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24: total: 21% male: 16.8% female: 28.4% (2016 est.)
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Country name: conventional long form: Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
conventional short form: Sri Lanka
local long form: Shri Lanka Prajatantrika Samajavadi Janarajaya/Ilankai Jananayaka Choshalichak Kutiyarachu
local short form: Shri Lanka/Ilankai
former: Serendib, Ceylon
etymology: the name means "resplendent island" in Sanskrit
Government type: presidential republic
Capital: name: Colombo (commercial capital); Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte (legislative capital)
geographic coordinates: 6 55 N, 79 50 E
time difference: UTC+5.5 (10.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: 9 provinces; Central, Eastern, North Central, Northern, North Western, Sabaragamuwa, Southern, Uva, Western
Independence: 4 February 1948 (from the UK)
National holiday: Independence Day (National Day), 4 February (1948)
Constitution: history: several previous; latest adopted 16 August 1978, certified 31 August 1978 amendments: proposed by Parliament; passage requires at least two-thirds majority vote of its total membership, certification by the president of the republic or the Parliament speaker, and in some cases approval in a referendum by absolute majority of valid votes; amended many times, last in 2015; note - deliberations by a constitutional assembly tasked with revising the constitution in March 2016 faltered after the prime minister tabled an experts’ report on proposals for a new constitution in January 2019 (2019)
Legal system: mixed legal system of Roman-Dutch civil law, English common law, Jaffna Tamil customary law, and Muslim personal law
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Maithripala SIRISENA (since 9 January 2015); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government; Prime Minister Ranil WICKREMESINGHE (since 9 January 2015)

head of government: President Maithripala SIRISENA (since 9 January 2015)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president in consultation with the prime minister elections/appointments: president directly elected by preferential majority popular vote for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 8 January 2015 (next to be held by December 2019)

election results: Maithripala SIRISENA elected president; percent of vote - Maithripala SIRISENA (SLFP) 51.3%, Mahinda RAJAPAKSA (SLFP) 47.6%, other 1.1%
Legislative branch: description: unicameral Parliament (225 seats; 196 members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote using a preferential method in which voters select 3 candidates in order of preference; remaining 29 seats allocated to other political parties and groups in proportion to share of national vote; members serve 5-year terms)

elections: last held on 17 August 2015 (next to be held by August 2020)

election results: percent of vote by coalition/party - UNFGG 45.7%, UPFA 42.4%, JVP 4.9%, TNA 4.6%, SLMC 0.4%, EPDP 0.3% other 1.7%; seats by coalition/party UNFGG 106, UPFA 95, TNA 16, JVP 6, SLMC 1, EPDP 1; composition - men 214, women 11, percent of women 4.9%
Judicial branch: highest courts: Supreme Court of the Republic (consists of the chief justice and 9 justices); note - the court has exclusive jurisdiction to review legislation judge selection and term of office: chief justice nominated by the Constitutional Council (CC), a 9-member high-level advisory body, and appointed by the president; other justices nominated by the CC and appointed by the president on the advice of the chief justice; all justices can serve until age 65

subordinate courts: Court of Appeals; High Courts; Magistrates' Courts; municipal and primary courts
Political parties and leaders: Crusaders for Democracy [Ganeshalingam CHANDRALINGAM] Eelam People's Democratic Party or EPDP [Douglas DEVANANDA] Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front [Suresh PREMACHANDRAN] Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna or JVP [Anura Kumara DISSANAYAKE] Jathika Hela Urumaya or JHU [Karunarathna PARANAWITHANA, Ven. Hadigalle Wimalasara THERO] Sri Lanka Freedom Party or SLFP [Maithripala SIRISENA] Sri Lanka Muslim Congress or SLMC [Rauff HAKEEM] Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna or SLPP [G. L. PEIRIS] Tamil National Alliance or TNA [Rajavarothiam SAMPANTHAN] (alliance includes Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi [Mavai SENATHIRAJAH], People's Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam [D. SIDDARTHAN], Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization [Selvam ADAIKALANATHAN]) United National Front for Good Governance or UNFGG [Ranil WICKREMESINGHE] (coalition includes JHU, UNP) United National Party or UNP [Ranil WICKREMESINGHE] United People's Freedom Alliance or UPFA [Maithripala SIRISENA] (coalition includes SLFP)
International organization participation: ABEDA, ADB, ARF, BIMSTEC, C, CD, CICA (observer), CP, FAO, G-11, G-15, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINURSO, MINUSTAH, MONUSCO, NAM, OAS (observer), OPCW, PCA, SAARC, SACEP, SCO (dialogue member), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNISFA, UNMISS, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
National symbol(s): lion, water lily;
national colors: maroon, yellow
National anthem: name: "Sri Lanka Matha" (Mother Sri Lanka)
lyrics/music: Ananda SAMARKONE

note: adopted 1951
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador E. Rodney M. PERERA (since 8 July 2019)
chancery: 3025 Whitehaven Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 483-4025 through 4028
FAX: [1] (202) 232-7181
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles, New York
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Alaina B. TEPLITZ (since 1 November 2018); note - also accredited to Maldives
embassy: 210 Galle Road, Colombo 3
mailing address: P. O. Box 106, Colombo
telephone: [94] (11) 249-8500
FAX: [94] (11) 243-7345
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Sri Lanka is attempting to sustain economic growth while maintaining macroeconomic stability under the IMF program it began in 2016. The government's high debt payments and bloated civil service, which have contributed to historically high budget deficits, remain a concern. Government debt is about 79% of GDP and remains among the highest of the emerging markets. In the coming years, Sri Lanka will need to balance its elevated debt repayment schedule with its need to maintain adequate foreign exchange reserves. In May 2016, Sri Lanka regained its preferential trade status under the European Union’s Generalized System of Preferences Plus, enabling many of its firms to export products, including its top export garments, tax free to the EU. In 2017, Parliament passed a new Inland Revenue Act in an effort to increase tax collection and broaden the tax base in response to recommendations made under its IMF program. In November 2017, the Financial Action Task Force on money laundering and terrorist financing listed Sri Lanka as non-compliant, but reported subsequently that Sri Lanka had made good progress in implementing an action plan to address deficiencies. Tourism has experienced strong growth in the years since the resolution of the government's 26-year conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. In 2017, the government promulgated plans to transform the country into a knowledge-based, export-oriented Indian Ocean hub by 2025.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $275.8 billion (2017 est.) $267 billion (2016 est.) $255.6 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): $87.35 billion (2017 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 3.3% (2017 est.) 4.5% (2016 est.) 5% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $12,900 (2017 est.) $12,600 (2016 est.) $12,200 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars
Gross national saving: 33.8% of GDP (2017 est.) 32.8% of GDP (2016 est.) 28.8% of GDP (2015 est.) GDP - composition, by end use: household consumption: 62% (2017 est.) government consumption: 8.5% (2017 est.) investment in fixed capital: 26.3% (2017 est.) investment in inventories: 10.2% (2017 est.) exports of goods and services: 21.9% (2017 est.) imports of goods and services: -29.1% (2017 est.) GDP - composition, by sector of origin: agriculture: 7.8% (2017 est.) industry: 30.5% (2017 est.) services: 61.7% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - products: rice, sugarcane, grains, pulses, oilseed, spices, vegetables, fruit, tea, rubber, coconuts; milk, eggs, hides, beef; fish
Industries: processing of rubber, tea, coconuts, tobacco and other agricultural commodities; telecommunications, insurance, banking; tourism, shipping; clothing, textiles; cement, petroleum refining, information technology services, construction
Industrial production growth rate: 4.6% (2017 est.)
Labor force: 8.937 million (2017 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 27%
industry: 26%
services: 47% (31 December 2016)
Unemployment rate: 4.4% (2017 est.) 4.4% (2016 est.)
Population below poverty line: 6.7% (2012 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 3%
highest 10%: 32.2% (2012 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 39.2 (2012 est.) 46 (1995)
Budget: revenues: 12.07 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 16.88 billion (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues: 13.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.) Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-): -5.5% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Public debt: 79.1% of GDP (2017 est.) 79.6% of GDP (2016 est.)

note: covers central government debt and excludes debt instruments directly owned by government entities other than the treasury (e.g. commercial bank borrowings of a government corporation); the data includes treasury debt held by foreign entities as well as intragovernmental debt; intragovernmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement; sub-national entities are usually not permitted to sell debt instruments
Fiscal year: calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 6.5% (2017 est.) 4% (2016 est.)
Current account balance: -$2.31 billion (2017 est.) -$1.743 billion (2016 est.)
Exports: $11.36 billion (2017 est.) $10.31 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commodities: textiles and apparel, tea and spices; rubber manufactures; precious stones; coconut products, fish
Exports - partners: US 24.6%, UK 9%, India 5.8%, Singapore 4.5%, Germany 4.3%, Italy 4.3% (2017)
Imports: $20.98 billion (2017 est.) $19.18 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commodities: petroleum, textiles, machinery and transportation equipment, building materials, mineral products, foodstuffs
Imports - partners: India 22%, China 19.9%, Singapore 6.9%, UAE 5.7%, Japan 4.9% (2017)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $7.959 billion (31 December 2017 est.) $6.019 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Debt - external: $51.72 billion (31 December 2017 est.) $45.26 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: $NA (31 December 2016)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad: n/a
Market value of publicly traded shares: $18.9 billion (30 September 2017 est.) $23.67 billion (31 December 2014 est.) $18.81 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
Exchange rates: Sri Lankan rupees (LKR) per US dollar - 154.1 (2017 est.) 145.58 (2016 est.) 145.58 (2015 est.) 135.86 (2014 est.) 130.57 (2013 est.)
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Electricity - production: 13.66 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - consumption: 12.67 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity: 3.998 million kW (2016 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels: 52% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 42% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources: 6% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Crude oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 33,540 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production: 34,210 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 116,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 3,871 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 66,280 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 25.19 million Mt (2017 est.)
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Cellular Phones in use: total subscriptions: 28,199,083
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 126 (2017 est.)
Telephone system: general assessment: telephone services have improved significantly and are available in most parts of the country; 4G moving to 5G trials; strong growth anticipated as Sri Lanka is lagging behind other Asian telecoms; increase in mobile broadband penetration   (2018)

domestic: fixed-line 12 per 100 and mobile-cellular 126 per 100; national trunk network consists of digital microwave radio relay and fiber-optic links; fixed wireless local loops have been installed; competition is strong in mobile cellular systems and mobile cellular subscribership is increasing (2018)

international: country code - 94; the SEA-ME-WE-3, SEA-ME-WE-4, SEA-ME-WE-5, FLAG, and the Bay of Bengal Gateway submarine cables provide connectivity to Asia, Australia, Middle East, Europe, US; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) (2018)
Broadcast media: government operates 5 TV channels and 19 radio channels; multi-channel satellite and cable TV subscription services available; 25 private TV stations and about 43 radio stations; 6 non-profit TV stations and 4 radio stations
Internet country code: .lk
Internet users: total: 7,126,540
percent of population: 32.1% (July 2016 est.)
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Airports: 19 (2013)
Airports (paved runways): total 15
(2013) over 3,047 m: 2 (2013)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 6 (2013)
914 to 1,523 m: 7 (2013)
Airports (unpaved runways): total 4
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2013)
under 914 m: 3 (2013)
Heliports: 1 (2013)
Pipelines: 7 km refined products
Railways: total 1,562 km
(2016) broad gauge: 1,562 km 1.676-m gauge (2016)
Roadways: total 114,093 km
(2010) paved: 16,977 km (2010)
unpaved: 97,116 km (2010)
Waterways: 160 km (primarily on rivers in southwest) (2012)
Merchant marine: total 87

by type: bulk carrier 9, container ship 1, general cargo 11, oil tanker 11, other 55 (2018)
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Colombo container port(s) (TEUs): Colombo (6,209,000) (2017)
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Military branches: Sri Lanka Army, Sri Lanka Navy (includes Marine Corps), Sri Lanka Air Force, Sri Lanka Coast Guard (2016)
Military service age and obligation: 18-22 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; 12-year service obligation (2018)
Military expenditures: 2.14% of GDP (2017) 2.44% of GDP (2016) 2.55% of GDP (2015) 2.41% of GDP (2014) 2.15% of GDP (2013)
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 Transnational Issues
Disputes - International: none
Refugees and internally displaced persons: IDPs: 37,000 (civil war; more than half displaced prior to 2008; many of the more than 480,000 IDPs registered as returnees have not reached durable solutions) (2018)
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