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Yearbook of the United Nations, 2006. Part 3, Economic and social questions. Chapter 12, Refugees and displaced persons
In 2006, the worldwide declining refugee trend was reversed as some 1.2 million new Iraqi refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic were registered. The number of persons of concern to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) rose to 32.9 million, from 20.8 million in 2005. Of the total, some 9.9 million were refugees, 12.8 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), 5.8 million stateless persons, and 738,000 asylum-seekers. Some 2.6 million returned to their place of origin and the remaining 1 million were forced migrants and others of concern. During the year, UNHCR achieved success in some areas, but was thwarted by constraints in others. In addition to its core protection and assistance activities to refugees, UNHCR committed itself to shared humanitarian responsibilities under the inter-agency cluster approach, whereby it assumed the global leadership of the protection cluster and co-led the camp coordination and camp management cluster with the International Organization for Migration. Almost all continents witnessed at least some progress towards solutions to forced displacement. A total of 2.6 million refugees and IDPs returned to their homes, including almost 400,000 to Afghanistan and around 1.4 million in Africa. In Latin America, UNHCR supported the local integration of refugees and facilitated their self-reliance in urban and border areas. However, a number of new, renewed, accelerating or entrenched crises produced millions of new refugees and IDPs in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Ongoing violence in Iraq resulted in massive displacements, both internally and externally to Jordan and the Syrian Arab Republic, while the July/August war that erupted in Lebanon displaced 1 million Lebanese. The political instability and violence in Timor-Leste displaced 150,000 people, the breakdown of the peace process in Sri Lanka resulted in the internal displacement of 200,000 persons and a renewed crisis in the 15-year old conflict in Somalia caused thousands of Somalis to cross the border into Kenya. In the Darfur region of the Sudan, 2 million people were internally displaced by the end of the year, which adversely impacted neighbouring Chad. Rebel uprisings and cross-border raids caused disruptions to operations for 222,000 Sudanese refugees living in camps in the east of the country and increased the number of people displaced inside Chad to 113,000. Another issue of concern to UNHCR was the complexity of mixed migrations, especially the increasing number of people migrating by boat in the Gulf of Aden, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, along Africa's Atlantic coast and between Indonesia and Australia. A significant number of refugees were caught up in those flows. UNHCR made efforts to help States address the issue. Despite an improved refugee protection environment, UNHCR continued to highlight the need for a clear framework for the exercise of the “responsibility to protect”, particularly with regard to the situation of IDPs in the Darfur region, and emphasized the importance of preserving the institution of asylum, opposing all forms of refoulement and ensuring respect for international refugee law. In October, the UNHCR Executive Committee adopted conclusions on women and girls at risk and on the identification, prevention and reduction of statelessness and protection of stateless persons, which included mechanisms and standards for addressing the protection issues of those vulnerable groups. Financially, 2006 was a difficult year for UNHCR. Austerity measures were put in place and the resulting cutbacks meant that some projects had to be delayed or suspended. During the year, UNHCR reassessed its mission and implemented structural and management reform. On 1 January, Erika Feller began her duties in the newly-established post of Assistant High Commissioner for Protection.
Yearbook of the United Nations, 2006. v. 60; Vol. 60
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