UNHCR launches latest edition of "Refugee Encyclopaedia"

News Stories, 26 September 2005

© UNHCR/Protection Information Section

GENEVA, 26 September (UNHCR) In order to protect refugees, states must first identify who is a refugee. This is not always easy. When trying to determine whether someone is a refugee, accurate and reliable information is vital, as wrong decisions based on unreliable information could have very serious consequences for those concerned.

For the past decade, UNHCR has been issuing Refworld as the most comprehensive, reliable and updated refugee information resource available anywhere. Sometimes referred to as the "Refugee Encyclopaedia", Refworld is a collection of more than 90,000 full-text, searchable documents from UNHCR specialists and information partners around the world.

"Sound decisions on refugee status can only be taken when based on pertinent and accurate information," said Erika Feller, Director of UNHCR's Department of International Protection, and Refworld's Editor-in-Chief. "Refworld makes this information available to UNHCR staff and others, be it country of origin information, national legislation, statistics or maps. It combines a large selection of human rights reports from governments and non-governmental organizations, with United Nations documents, and of course all UNHCR's positions dealing with key issues and specific countries. This is why I recommend all my staff to always have Refworld at their disposal wherever they are."

Refworld's 14th edition issued today consists of a set of six CD-Roms. It has been updated to include the most recent country reports, UNHCR positions, publications, maps and statistics. In addition, for the first time, UNHCR will also be issuing Refworld in DVD-format, which will increase user-friendliness, as all the information will be available on a single disc.

"Refworld is a crucial information tool for all those involved in refugee protection. It covers such a broad range of issues and countries, and contains a large amount of high-quality protection information. Refworld now has more than 3,000 subscribers, ranging from researchers and academics, to government officials and decision-makers, to refugee lawyers and judges," explains Feller.

The Refworld set now comes with Quick Search Tips, a quick and easy guide for searching Refworld, according to Oldrich Andrysek, Chief of UNHCR's Protection Information Section, which produces the CD-Rom set released today. It is possible to search within search results, as well as within navigation categories. The "Advanced Search" facilities have been greatly improved,.

A full subscription to Refworld 2005 costs US$150 for Governments, international organizations, academic institutions, research institutes, libraries, bar associations, law schools, and the judiciary.

A reduced fee of US$75 applies to non-governmental organizations contributing to or involved in work with refugees, legal clinics, students, individuals, and lawyers working on behalf of asylum seekers and refugees. There is a discount of 1/3 on the total price for any order of five sets or more.