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the 1990s have been mainly internal. They have been brutal, claiming
more than 5 million lives. They have violated, not so much borders,
as people. Humanitarian conventions have been routinely flouted,
civilians and aid workers have become strategic targets, and children
have been forced to become killers."
from the Millennium Report
14 million people are refugees in the conventional sense of the
word: people who have left their own country
to escape from persecution, armed conflict or violence.
To this figure can be added a very large number of uprooted people
who do not receive any form of international protection or assistance,
the majority of whom remain within the borders in their own country.
two-thirds of the world's refugees are in the Middle East and Africa.
Although refugee flows are widespread, a handful of countries are
the primary source. Half of all refugees come from three sources:
Palestinians, as well as from Afghanistan and Iraq. Completing the
list of the ten leading sources of refugees are Sierra Leone, Somalia,
Sudan, Yugoslavia, Angola, Croatia, and Eritrea.
the United Nations refugee organization, is mandated by the UN to
lead and coordinate international action
for the world-wide protection of refugees and the resolution of
refugee problems. When first created by the UN General
Assembly in 1951, UNHCR was charged primarily with resettling 1.2
million European refugees left homeless in the aftermath of World