News Stories, 21 November 2003
GENEVA, November 21 (UNHCR) – Amid a good response from refugee experts, advocates and academics, the UN refugee agency this week completed the distribution of the 11th update of its protection and research CD-ROM, Refworld 2003.
Nearly 1,600 copies of Refworld 2003 will shortly be reaching government agencies, courts, law firms, universities, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and book stores, as well as UNHCR offices around the world. This represents a 25-percent increase in subscriptions within the last few months and demonstrates how much this key UNHCR protection publication has been missed in spite of a two-year break in production.
"We are extremely pleased that user interest and response have not only met but surpassed our expectations, and we are already working on Refworld 2004 to be released in spring next year," said Oldrich Andrysek, chief of UNHCR's Protection Information Section. "We are considering increasing the print run of Refworld 2004 to meet the growing demand and are looking into DVD technology to tap into even more power and simpler use for the future."
Currently spanning four CDs, the wealth of information provided includes legislation and jurisprudence, UN documents, maps, speeches, UNHCR policy guidelines and training materials, information on human rights in refugees' countries of origin from a range of sources, as well as the latest statistics. The sheer quantity of documents is now stretching the data capacity of CD-ROMs.
The edition distributed this week includes updates of all the databases from the previous edition and greatly expands the amount of information provided. The national legislation database and the international and national jurisprudence database have grown significantly. For the first time, Refworld now includes case law from Colombia, Greece, India, Ireland and the Russian Federation, as well as over 600 Spanish language documents reaching out to an expanding circle of users in their mother tongue.
Also new to this edition are UNHCR country operation plans from the agency's offices worldwide, as well as all published editions of UNHCR's book, "The State of the World's Refugees". Other additions include documents linked to the massive review process of the worldwide refugee and asylum system, known as the Global Consultations, which involved UNHCR, governments, NGOs and other experts. The update also offers information on the subsequent "Convention Plus" initiative – which looks at ways to complement and strengthen the 1951 Refugee Convention through special multilateral agreements – and previously unavailable texts of UNHCR special agreements with States.
Thanks to feedback from users, upgrades to the tool's search engine have improved Refworld's user-friendliness and offered even quicker access to information.
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.
A year's subscription costs $150 for governments, libraries, bar associations, UN agencies and academic institutions, and $75 for NGOs, legal clinics and individuals working with refugees and asylum seekers. A 30-percent discount applies to orders of five or more sets. On an exceptional basis, UNHCR also considers requests for complimentary copies on a case-by-case basis from institutions and individuals who cannot afford the subscription fee.