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Yearbook of the United Nations, 2000. Part 3, Economic and social questions. Chapter 12, Refugees and displaced persons
In 2000, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) provided assistance to 21.1 million persons throughout the world, a decrease from 22.3 million the previous year. More than half of those people (12.1 million) were refugees, 5.5 million were internally displaced persons, 900,000 were asylum-seekers,800,000 had repatriated, and almost 1.7 million were in other special situations. While there were no new refugee emergencies on the scale experienced in the previous few years, UNHCR continued to face challenging refugee and forced displacement situations, often exacerbated by natural disasters. African countries continued to host the largest number of refugees, representing almost a third of the worldwide total, with the main groups originating in Sierra Leone, 487,000; the Sudan,468,000; Somalia, 452,000; Angola, more than 351,000; Eritrea, 346,000; and Burundi, 326,000. The United Republic of Tanzania hosted one of the largest case loads on the continent, some 488,000 refugees. In January, the Security Council,in a statement on assistance to refugees in Africa ,affirmed the need to ensure that both refugees and internally displaced persons in Africa received sufficient protection and assistance, taking into account the special difficulties in providing humanitarian assistance to internally displaced persons on that continent. Protracted inter-ethnic tension and violence caused displacement of more than 200,000 non-Albanians from Kosovo province into other parts of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which remained one of UNHCR's major concerns in Europe. IN Central and South-West Asia, renewed and continued fighting between warring factions in Afghanistan dampened hopes for finding along-term political settlement and peace, a situation that was further compounded by the worst drought experienced in three decades. Thousands of Afghans were displaced internally and thousands more were forced to flee across the border into Iran and Pakistan, where the vast majority of the 2.6 million Afghan refugees were living. During 2000, UNHCR assisted 261,000 Afghans to return voluntarily to Afghanistan from those countries. Staff safety remained a major concern for UNHCR as it faced restricted access to and lack of security in conflict-ridden areas in Africa, South-West and South-East Asia, the Balkans and Caucasus regions, and South America. During the year, three UNHCR staff members were killed in West Timor and one in Guinea, while carrying out their duties. In October, the UNHCR Executive Committee, noting the coming into force of the 1994 Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel, urged States to consider signing and ratifying that instrument. It also urged the conclusion of an optional protocol to the Convention, which would extend protection to all humanitarian personnel. IN other action, the Executive Committee welcomed the UNHCR proposal for commencing global consultations with States aimed at revitalizing the international protection regime for refugees. IN October, the General Assembly elected Ruud Lubbers (Netherlands) as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for a three year term beginning on 1 January 2001 to succeed Sadako Ogata (Japan), who had held the position for 10 years. UNHCR observed its fiftieth anniversary in 2000. In December, the Assembly paid tribute to the work and dedication of UNHCR staff and reaffirmed its support for UNHCR activities on behalf of returnees, stateless persons and internally displaced persons. It decided that, as from 2001, 20 June would be celebrated as World Refugee Day.
Yearbook of the United Nations, 2000. v. 54; Vol. 54
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