UNHCR publication for CIS Conference (Displacement in the CIS) - About this publication

Refugees Magazine, 1 May 1996

This publication was conceived, written and produced by the UNHCR Public Information Section. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the CIS Conference Secretariat.

Note on statistics: The statistics contained in this publication were for the most part provided by governments of CIS countries as part of the CIS Conference process. With the exception of some of the ecological displacements, the earliest movements included date from 1989. The great majority of statistics date from 1991 or 1992. With one or two exceptions, only movements of more than 10,000 people are included in maps and tables. Some represent data from one or two years only. Major gaps remain. Some countries keep very precise statistics on the types of movement covered in this publication. For some other countries, little data has so far been available for a variety of reasons. In certain countries, statistics are gathered differently and do not fit the standard categories.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) was created in 1951 to ensure, throughout the world, the orderly migration of persons who are in need of international migration assistance. The Organization has helped over 8 million people refugees, displaced people and other individuals through humanitarian, emergency and development migration programmes. An inter-governmental organization with more than 100 Member and Observer States participating in its work, IOM acts with its partners in the international community to assist in meeting the operational challenges of migration; advance understanding of migration issues; encourage social and economic development through migration; and work towards effective respect of the human dignity and well-being of migrants.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is a nonpolitical humanitarian agency of the United Nations. It started work in 1951, and has been awarded two Nobel Peace Prizes for its work in pursuit of a dual mandate: to ensure international protection of the world's refugees, and to assist them in seeking permanent solutions to their problems. It is one of the leading operational agencies with the capacity to respond to major emergencies. As a result, in recent years, UNHCR has increasingly been requested to assist internally displaced people. It is currently responsible for some 27 million refugees, IDPs, returnees and war-affected populations. UNHCR has around 5,000 staff in 250 offices in 120 countries. Eighty percent of the staff work in the field.

The Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe originated in the mid-1970s as a multilateral forum for communication and co-operation between East and West. At the end of the Cold War, the Helsinki Process was transformed into practice with the creation of CSCE institutions: a Secretariat in Prague, a Conflict Prevention Centre in Vienna and an Office for Free Elections in Warsaw. In 1992, the CSCE States, now numbering 53, transformed the Office for Free Elections into the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). In January 1995, the CSCE changed its name to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). ODIHR is the OSCE institution responsible for furthering human rights, democracy and the rule of law.