New REFWORLD goes live this week: an underestimated tool for Human Rights Defenders and researchers

April 16, 2013

Logo of United Nations Refugee Agency.Version ...

UNHCR’s Refworld 2013 goes live this week at The website has undergone significant changes based on a feedback received from internal and external users over the years.

Refworld started almost 20 years ago as an ever-expanding series of DVD’s containing the different databases of documentation centre of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. With the wider availability of broadband it switched in 2007 to internet only. It was already then considered an advanced protection information resource which aims to facilitate evidence-based and effective decision-making in refugee status determination procedures. Now it functions more broadly as a key tool for evidence-based advocacy relating to resettlement, statelessness, internal displacement, as well as specific protection concerns. The database, updated on a daily basis, now contains more than 167,000 documents relating to countries of origin or asylum, case law, legislation and policy. Especially the ‘country of origin’ information is relevant to human rights defenders as it is in fact a selection of human rights violations documentation. Also the legal information section is a unique collection of worldwide documentation concerning refugee law and statelessness.

Refworld 2013  features a number of improvements, such as:

•             The homepage has been redesigned to direct users more efficiently to content they are looking for (with advanced “browse by” pages which enable users to peruse by: Region/Country, Publisher, Document Type).
•             Search options have been greatly improved (a powerful full-text search engine, and advanced searching facilities, such as a thesaurus which enables searches including search term variations ).
•             All documents are automatically displayed in full-screen mode.
•             Refworld adapts content to a more user-friendly layout for mobile/tablet devices (responsive layout).

And a personalization feature has been added which enables notification by email.

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