News Stories, 23 December 2004
GENEVA, Dec 23 (UNHCR) – The UN refugee agency has released an updated version of its Refworld CD-Rom, featuring a new section on Council of Europe documents among other new data, and drawing new subscribers like the British judiciary and detention centres in the United States.
The new edition – the 13th published so far – brings together nearly 90,000 refugee-related documents and sources of information. Subscribers, who include refugee advocates, government officials, students, relief workers and others in the refugee field, started receiving their copies in the second half of December.
Over the past years, thousands of people have used Refworld CD-Roms as their first port of call and comprehensive research tool. For Refworld 2004, UNHCR produced an initial print run of 2,200 copies which has been increased to 2,900.
The latest issue has an expanded section on refugee law and jurisprudence containing information on many more asylum cases from a wider range of asylum countries. The case documents are broken down by court and level of judicial review, allowing asylum attorneys and adjudicators greater flexibility in researching jurisprudence relevant to their cases.
Maps, statistics and information on refugees' countries of origin continue to be available on the CD-Rom.
"UNHCR is preparing for a thorough user survey in 2005 as well as an independent evaluation to determine how to further develop the collection," said Oldrich Andrysek, Chief of UNHCR's Protection Information Section. Other improvements under consideration are the release of a DVD version, which would improve searchability, and the revamping of Refworld on UNHCR's website to make it more user-friendly.
"Many users whose mother tongues are French, Spanish and Russian continue to express interest in versions which would allow them to interface and navigate through the data in their native language," said Andrysek. "So we may see the development of Refmonde, Refmundo and Refmir editions."
Refworld can be ordered by downloading the subscription form from the Refworld page on UNHCR's website and faxing or emailing the completed form to the refugee agency. Prices remain the same as for Refworld 2003, with a year's subscription costing $150 for governments, libraries, bar associations, UN agencies and academic institutions, and $75 for non-governmental organisations, legal clinics and individuals working with refugees and asylum seekers. A third discount applies to orders of five or more sets. The fee includes the initial six CDs and the December update.