UNHCR releases Refworld 2004 CD-ROM

News Stories, 21 June 2004

© UNHCR Electronic Publishing Unit
Refworld 2004 cover.

GENEVA, June 21 (UNHCR) Refugee advocates, government officials, students, relief workers and others in the refugee field now have access to a revamped and updated edition of UNHCR's Refworld CD-ROM, which brings together nearly 90,000 refugee-related documents and sources of information.

The new edition the 12th published so far will be distributed to subscribers in the second half of June.

Last year, thousands of people relied on Refworld 2003, among them 1,900 individual users and hundreds more who have access to the comprehensive research tool. For Refworld 2004, UNHCR produced an initial print run of 2,200 copies.

The new edition boasts an improved section on refugee law and jurisprudence containing information on many more asylum cases from a wider range of asylum countries. The case documents are now broken down by court and level of judicial review, allowing asylum attorneys and adjudicators greater flexibility in researching jurisprudence relevant to their cases.

Also new to Refworld 2004 is a section on special initiatives by the UN refugee agency, consolidating information on recent initiatives such as the Global Consultations on Refugee Protection, the Convention Plus initiative, and the UNHCR 2004 process. New data sets have also been added with all the 2003 issues of the Migration News Sheet published by the Migration Policy Group and new documents from the European Council on Refugees and Exiles.

Maps, statistics and information on refugees' countries of origin are also available on the CD-ROMs.

The rapidly increasing scope and scale of the available documentation contained in Refworld has pushed the publication to a six-CD set, up from four CDs in the previous edition.

The production of Refworld is constantly evolving. "The excellent response to our user survey on Refworld 2003 has enabled us to make qualitative and quantitative improvements for the 12th edition and has also given us food for thought for future development of the product," said Oldrich Andrysek, chief of UNHCR's Protection Information Section.

For example, more and more users some 25 percent of those surveyed now have access to DVD readers, which means that UNHCR will be producing a DVD version alongside the existing CD-ROM format.

"Many users whose mother tongues are French, Spanish and Russian have expressed 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 in the future."

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 30-percent discount applies to orders of five or more sets. The fee includes the initial six CDs plus an update to be issued in the fall of 2004