IRRC No. 301

The United Nations and the homecoming of displaced populations

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According to UNHCR figures, in 1970 there were 2.5 million refugees in the world. In 1980, the figure was 11 million. By the early 1990s, the alarming spread of civil wars was prompting an average of 10,000 people a day to flee across an international border. In 1993, the estimated number of refugees had risen to 18.2 million. In addition there were at least 24 million people who been forcibly displaced within their own countries (UNHCR, 1993:1). In 1994, the situation has deteriorated further, particularly in Africa. In the past few weeks, well over a million refugees have fled the fighting in Rwanda.

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