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The State of The World's Refugees 1995: In Search of Solutions

State of the World's Refugees, 1 January 1995

During the past few years, the world has witnessed a succession of massive refugee movements and humanitarian emergencies. Humanitarian organizations are struggling to keep pace with the demands of each new exodus, while governments around the world are becoming increasingly reluctant to offer refuge to these victims of violence.

This book examines the origins of the current crisis and provides a comprehensive account of the way in which approaches to the problem of human displacement have changed since the end of the Cold War. While the right of asylum must be scrupulously maintained, the book argues, greater efforts must also be made to tackle refugee problems at their source, by restoring peace and prosperity to countries where large numbers of people have been forced to abandon their homes. And to achieve this objective, concerted international action will be required to protect human rights, establish effective peacekeeping operations, promote sustainable development and manage migratory movements.

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Refugee Protection in International Law

Edited by Erika Feller, Volker Türk and Frances Nicholson, published 2003 by Cambridge University Press

The State of the World's Refugees

These six editions of UNHCR's The State of the World's Refugees provide detailed, in-depth analysis of the plight of the world's millions of displaced people. The authors examine the major crises and challenges faced by UNHCR for over fifty years.

Durable Solutions

Voluntary repatriation, local integration, resettlement, the three key solutions.

Teaching About Refugees, History

History includes refugees

Throughout history, political turmoil has victimized many civilian families, forcing them to flee their homes. Refugee outflows and other massive displacements of people are a key aspect of many international crises. For children, in particular, looking at world events from the point of view of a refugee family can give new meaning and a sense of reality to events that may otherwise seem abstract and far away. The theme can be introduced in:

Medieval/early modern history: The religious wars.

Contemporary history: World War I, the Russian Revolution, the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the Second World War and Nazism, colonization and decolonization in Africa, Soviet influence in Central and Eastern Europe, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Vietnam War, the dictatorships in Latin-America - all these events and many more have victimized millions of people and forced them to flee their homes, families and communities.


9-11 year olds Refugees in History
12-14 year olds The Rwandan Crisis 1994
15-18 year olds Population Displacement in the Commonwealth of Independent States

History

Studying history can provide an opportunity to examine refugee outflows and displacement.

Protection

The protection of millions of uprooted or stateless people is UNHCR's core mandate.

A Place to Call Home(Part 2): 1996 - 2003

This gallery highlights the history of UNHCR's efforts to help some of the world's most disenfranchised people to find a place called home, whether through repatriation, resettlement or local integration.

After decades of hospitality after World War II, as the global political climate changed and the number of people cared for by UNHCR swelled from around one million in 1951, to more than 27 million people in the mid-1990s, the welcome mat for refugees was largely withdrawn.

Voluntary repatriation has become both the preferred and only practical solution for today's refugees. In fact, the great majority of them choose to return to their former homes, though for those who cannot do so for various reasons, resettlement in countries like the United States and Australia, and local integration within regions where they first sought asylum, remain important options.

This gallery sees Rwandans returning home after the 1994 genocide; returnees to Kosovo receiving reintegration assistance; Guatemalans obtaining land titles in Mexico; and Afghans flocking home in 2003 after decades in exile.

A Place to Call Home(Part 2): 1996 - 2003

A Place to Call Home (Part 1): 1953 - 1995

Based on the 2004 World Refugee Day theme, "A place to call home: Rebuilding lives in safety and dignity", this two-part gallery highlights the history of UNHCR's efforts to help some of the world's most disenfranchised people to find a place called home, whether through repatriation, resettlement or local integration.

In more than a half century of humanitarian work, the UN refugee agency has helped more than 50 million uprooted people across the globe to successfully restart their lives.

Following the end of World War II and in the prevailing climate of the Cold War, many refugees, including those fleeing Soviet-dominated countries or the aftermath of the conflict in Indo China, were welcomed by the countries to which they initially fled or resettled in states even further afield.

In Part 1 of the gallery, a family restarts its life in New Zealand in the 1950s after years in a German camp; Vietnamese children make their first snowman in Sweden; while two sisters rebuild their home after returning to post-war Mozambique in the early 1990s.

A Place to Call Home (Part 1): 1953 - 1995

Rescue at Sea on the Mediterranean

Every year tens of thousands of people risk their lives by crossing the Mediterranean on overcrowded and often unseaworthy boats in a bid to reach Europe. Many of them are fleeing violence and persecution and are in need of international protection. Thousands die every year trying to make it to places like Malta or Italy's tiny Lampedusa Island. It took the loss of some 600 people in boat sinkings last October to focus world attention on this humanitarian tragedy. Italy has since launched a rescue-at-sea operation using naval vessels, which have saved more than 10,000 people. Photographer Alfredo D'Amato, working with UNHCR, was on board the San Giusto, flagship of the Italian rescue flotilla, when rescued people were transferred to safety. His striking images follow.

Rescue at Sea on the Mediterranean

ExCom: Global Protection ChallengesPlay video

ExCom: Global Protection Challenges

UNHCR's top protection official, Volker Türk, talks to UNHCR's Head of News Adrian Edwards about his policy speech to the refugee agency's Executive Committee and the need to strengthen international protection.
Lampedusa Tragedy: UNHCR's Protection Chief CommentsPlay video

Lampedusa Tragedy: UNHCR's Protection Chief Comments

Volker Türk, UNHCR's Director of International Protection, speaks about the deaths of scores of people aboard a crowded boat that caught fire off the coast of Italy.
Statelessness: A Message from UNHCRPlay video

Statelessness: A Message from UNHCR

An address from UNHCR's Director of International Protection Volker Türk to mark International Human Rights Day and the launch of a new report on Statelessness in the United States.