Australian prime minister Tony Abbott. Australia’s highest court gave the United Nations permission today to give evidence in a groundbreaking legal challenge to the country’s power to intercept asylum seekers’ boats outside its territorial waters. Photograph: Reuters

Australia’s highest court gave the United Nations permission today to give evidence in a groundbreaking legal challenge to the country’s power to in(...)

Kurdish Syrian refugees stand in a truck at the Turkish-Syrian border near the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province. A UN report today says that the number of people seeking asylum this year is on track to hit a 20-year high. Photograph: Murad Sezer/Reuters.

Wars in Syria and Iraq, and instability elsewhere are driving ever more people to seek asylum in wealthy nations, with requests on track to hit a 20-y(...)

Syrian refugees cross the Syrian-Turkish border near Sanliurfa, Turkey, yesterday. The Islamic State assault against dozens of Kurdish villages in northern Syria could create a mass exodus, with up to 400,000 seeking refuge in neighbouring Turkey, a United Nations official warned. Photograph: Sedat Suna/EPA

About 150,000 Syrians, mostly Kurds from northern and eastern Syria, have poured over the border into Turkey in search of safety during the past week (...)

Refugees wait near the Turkish-Syrian border after fleeing Syria, near Sanliurfa, Turkey, yesterday. More than  130,000 Syrian Kurds fleeing the Islamic State militant group have crossed into Turkey in the past three days, the deputy Turkisk prime minister said. Photograph: Ulas Yunus Tosun/EPA.

Syrian Kurdish fighters say they have halted an advance by Islamic State fighters to the east of a predominantly Kurdish town near the border with Tur(...)

Actor and  United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees special envoy Angelina Jolie listens to Maltese military officers discussing rescue at sea operations for refugees at a military base in Valetta, Malta. Photograph: EPA/Pete Muller

About 500 migrants drowned after the boat carrying them from Egypt to Malta was apparently deliberately sunk by people-traffickers, an international m(...)

US president Barack Obama boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington yesterday before departing for Estonia. Photograph: Reuters/Larry Downing

US president Barack Obama will visit ex-Soviet Estonia today, before a summit of Nato members that will focus on how to respond to Russia’s alleged d(...)

Refugees gather in an internally displaced persons camp which was set up for Nigerians fleeing the violence committed against them by Boko Haram. Photograph: Samuel Ini/Reuters.

Islamist Boko Haram insurgents overran most of a northeastern Nigerian town today after hours of fighting that killed scores and displaced thousands (...)

Syrian refugee children stand in front of their family residence at Azraq refugee camp near Al Azraq, east of Amman. Photograph: Muhammad Hamed/Reuters

Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighbouring countries as of Friday, an exodus that began in March 2011 and shows no sign of aba(...)

A refugee camp for Yazidis near the town of Zakho, Iraq. The United Nations refugee agency today said it was launching a major aid operation to get supplies to more than half a million people displaced by fighting in northern Iraq. Photograph: EPA.

Iraqi forces launched an offensive today to drive Islamic State fighters out of Tikrit, home town of executed dictator Saddam Hussein, while the milit(...)

Displaced children from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing the violence in the Iraqi town of Sinjar, rest after they re-enter Iraq from Syria at the border crossing in Fishkhabour yesterday. Photograph: Youssef Boudlal/Reuters

The humanitarian crisis in Iraq remains complex and highly dangerous for hundreds of thousands of people, even after the lifting of the Islamic State (...)