A team of refugees will compete alongside athletes representing their home countries at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the International Olympic Committee has announced.
Previously, athletes who did not represent a country were not allowed to compete.
The team will likely number between five and 10 athletes, the committee said in a statement, and "will be treated at the Olympic Games like all the other teams."
"By welcoming the team of Refugee Olympic Athletes to the Olympic Games Rio 2016, we want to send a message of hope for all refugees in our world," IOC President Thomas Bach said in a statement.
The IOC said it has identified 43 contenders for the places on the team and that the final group will be announced in June. Along with athletic prowess, potential team members will be assessed by "official refugee status verified by the United Nations, and personal situation and background."
There are some 20.2 million refugees globally, according to U.N. figures. That includes 5.1 million registered refugees in camps in the Middle East, and an additional 15.1 million "refugees of concern."