Yearbook of the United Nations, 2004. Part 3, Economic and social questions. Chapter 12, Refugees and displaced persons
In 2004, the total number of persons of concern to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) increased by some 13 per cent to 19.2 million, from 17 million in 2003. An estimated 1.5 million refugees returned to their places of origin during the year, while hundreds of thousands of others were driven out by conflicts and related instability in various parts of the world. UNHCR made progress in seeking durable solutions for those affected, but its efforts were undermined in some areas by such obstacles and challenges as new refugee outflows, attacks on humanitarian personnel, measures that eroded the international protection regime, the increasing volume and complexity of migratory flows and difficulties in sustaining voluntary repatriation. During the year, repatriation was one of the key areas of UNHCR focus. Through its efforts, momentum in the repatriation of Afghan refugees was maintained, with some 1 million returning home—the highest number of returns during the year—despite persisting instability in parts of the country. Similar repatriation operations resulted in thousands returning to their places of origin in Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Iraq, Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia and Sri Lanka. The Office helped to resettle approximately 30,000, as compared to 26,000 in 2003, and worked to reduce statelessness and protect stateless persons, estimated at over 1 million worldwide. However, despite UNHCR's concerted efforts, millions of others—some two thirds of the global refugee population— remained out of reach of durable solutions and continued to suffer in protracted refugee situations, most notably Myanmar refugees in Bangladesh, Bhutanese nationals in Nepal and Saharawi refugees in Algeria. An estimated 2 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Colombia and hundreds of thousands of other IDPs and refugees were awaiting solutions in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. In many cases, already complex situations were exacerbated by fresh refugee outflows that sometimes created large-scale emergencies, as in the Darfur region of the Sudan; in the DRC, where 20,000 persons fled the outbreak of fighting in the town of Bukavu; and in Somalia, where tension caused 19,000 persons to flee their homes. Other outflows included nationals of Côte d'Ivoire, Iraq and Yemen. In continuing efforts to implement the “Convention Plus” initiative launched in 2003 to help strengthen the commitment of States and other partners to resolving refugee situations through multilateral action plans, UNHCR established in June a Framework of Understandings on the strategic use of resettlement and developed a methodology for assessing gaps in protection capacity. In October, the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU), following its review of UNHCR's management and administration, recommended measures for their improvement, including streamlining and rationalizing its organizational structure. In December, the General Assembly encouraged UNHCR to continue to improve its management systems. To enhance protection and durable solutions to refugee problems, UNHCR proposed the establishment of a post of Assistant High Commissioner (Protection) to oversee protection and the related advocacy role of the Office. As part of its ongoing headquarters review process, UNHCR re-examined its security procedures and made recommendations for improvement, which complemented the UN-wide changes in security management practices.
Yearbook of the United Nations, 2004. v. 58; Vol. 58
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