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Refugees Magazine Issue 111 (Universal Declaration of Human Rights 50th Anniversary) - Editorial: The Complex World of the Refugee

Refugees Magazine Issue 111 (Universal Declaration of Human Rights 50th Anniversary) - Editorial: The Complex World of the Refugee
Refugees (111, I - 1998)

1 March 1998

(Note for electronic edition: the relaunch and graphic redesign mentioned here refers to the print edition of Refugees Magazine)

It is appropriate that Refugees Magazine should re-launch itself with an issue devoted to human rights in this, the 50th year of the Universal Declaration. As the following articles underline, people become refugees only after their human rights have been seriously threatened or denied. If there were no human rights abuses, there would not be a need for this magazine or organizations such as UNHCR. The magazine has had a graphic facelift which we hope you will find more visually attractive and interesting. In each issue we will emphasize the best photographs to illustrate the comtemporary situation of refugees - sometimes in the form of an extensive photo essay - and an increased numbers of graphs and charts. Most issues will carry a centrefold world map to more easily spotlight ongoing refugee situations.

Editorial content has also been reshaped. If a crisis warrants the coverage, we will, as in the past, devote an entire magazine to the topic. In regular issues, a wider range of events will be covered. The current edition manages to combine both concepts. The cover story and related reports deal specifically with the central issue of refugees and human rights. But even though the words 'human rights' are not always used in other sections, every single report has a human rights element.

The new format has been introduced because the refugee world is a complex one. Thus, while the magazine will continue to emphasize refugee crises such as the Great Lakes or Bosnia, it will also devote more space to analysis and commentary on important trends and topics.

Refugees are created in tragedy, but there is a brighter, and more hopeful side to the story as well and we will cover cultural and social events and offer periodic film and book reviews, cartoons and pertinent quotes.

Non Governmental Organizations are vital partners with UNHCR and we will encourage their views and contributions. In the current edition we asked Amnesty International to give its views on refugees and human rights.

Refugees Magazine, finally, is about people. It is sometimes easy to forget this, concentrating instead on policy papers or speeches by experts to experts. This edition carries a new People and Places column in addition to emphasizing people throughout the other stories.

There are some dreadful reports of expulsions and rapes in these reports. But there are other stories of hope - of a young Czech refugee who became one of the most powerful women in the world, of an exile from Hungary whose business decisions eventually influence virtually every person on this planet and of a man who fled Nazi persecution and eventually returned home as the new president of his country.

As the cover page says, asylum is the key to helping protect refugees. The word derives from ancient Greek - the particle "a" and the verb "sylao" and translates literally as "without capture, without violation, without devastation."

Source: Refugees Magazine issue 111 (1998)