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Forced Migration Resources On The Web

Elisa Mason

Updated July 2006

Purpose of this Guide

The International Association for the Study of Forced Migration ( defines forced migration as “a general term that refers to the movements of refugees and internally displaced people (people displaced by conflicts) as well as people displaced by natural or environmental disasters, chemical or nuclear disasters, famine, or development projects.” Research in the field of forced migration studies can prove challenging for several reasons. First, it is multidisciplinary; therefore, the range of potentially relevant resources that might be consulted by a researcher is quite broad, and encompasses most of the social sciences as well as law and medicine. Second, it is marked by certain internal divisions, wherein different forced migrants are studied almost exclusively by different disciplines (see e.g., Cernea, Michael, “Bridging the Research Divide: Studying Refugees and Development Oustees,” 1996). Finally, refugees have been a predominant focus of study for a longer period of time than other forced migrants, and for this reason, it is often more difficult to find information on other groups.

Forced Migration Online (FMO) was developed to support and facilitate the research and information-seeking process in this field, and to help overcome some of the research challenges identified above. This guide highlights some of the key forced migration resources that are either in FMO or that can be accessed via FMO. Please note the list is not comprehensive; at the same time, 185 resources are featured. Emphasis was placed on selecting resources that cover key forced migration issues generally. The resources are organized by type, rather than by forced migrant or by displacement cause, in order to avoid overlap and to de-emphasize divisions within the field. In several sections, a "see also" is included to refer users to resources with broader disciplinary coverage that are still relevant.

What exactly constitutes a resource? Rather than simply note relevant web sites and provide a description of the elements available within each, this guide links to (1) glossaries, country profiles, research collections, directories, indexes, bibliographies, library catalogues, discussion lists, news sources, journals, yearbooks, international instruments, policies, operational materials, evaluation reports, statistics, multimedia resources, web subject guides, and search engines; (2) pre-programmed searches in the FMO Web Catalogue; and (3) full-text grey literature documents available in the FMO Digital Library.

All attempts were made to highlight relevant resources in other languages besides English (primarily French and Spanish, with some German. Arabic, Chinese, and others). Approximately 25 percent are multilingual; specific URLs are indicated for the different language versions available for a given resource. Geographic diversity among information producers was also an objective; some 59 percent of resources were produced by organizations based in Western Europe, 31 percent came from North America, and 10 percent originated elsewhere.

Background and Overview

Introduction to the Issues, Definitions of Key Terms

The resources below (glossaries, training modules, FAQs) define specific groups of forced migrants, expand on the relevant issues and concepts, and provide a basis for developing a better understanding of the field of forced migration.

The Definition of an Internally Displaced Person? (Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, Switz.)
Reviews the components of the IDP definition.
Forced Evictions (Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions , Switz.)
Introduces the concept of forced eviction and reviews remedies.
Glossary of Humanitarian Terms in relation to the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict (United Nations, U.S.)
Prepared by OCHA in 2003 as a “practical reference guide to terms often used within humanitarian situations.”
International Agreed Glossary of Basic Terms Related to Disaster Management (Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, Belg.)
Glossary posted on CRED web site that includes definitions from the above-mentioned publication, compiled by DHA in 1992.
Involuntary Resettlement: Frequently Asked Questions (World Bank, U.S.)
Introduces concept of involuntary resettlement and outlines nature of assistance provided to those affected.
Master Glossary of Terms (UNHCR, Switz.)
Compilation of the terms most commonly used in UNHCR protection-related publications.
Palestinian Refugees (BADIL, Occupied Pal. Terr.)
Arabic version
Provides an introduction to the Palestinian refugee issue, with an historical overview.
Protecting Refugees: Questions and Answers (UNHCR, Switz.)
(Note: Most language versions that follow link to the older “Who is a Refugee?” Q&A.)
Arabic version
Chinese version
Czech version
French version
German version
Japanese version
Korean version
Polish version (click on “Kim jest uchodźca”)
Portuguese version
Spanish version
Swedish version
Presented in a Q&A format.
Refugee and Internally Displaced Person Flows (Moore, Will H. et al, U.S.)
Research project that examines causes of flight.
Saving Lives and Livelihoods: The Fundamentals of a Livelihoods Strategy (Feinstein International Famine Center, U.S.)
Presents a strategy for responding appropriately in a complex emergency, which is based on eight principles of self-sufficiency and productivity.
"What is a Complex Emergency?," OCHA Orientation Handbook on Complex Emergencies (OCHA, Switz.)
Click on "Introduction" and scroll down to relevant section.
What is Forced Migration (Forced Migration Online, UK)
Reviews the various types of forced migration and forced migrants considered by Forced Migration Online to fall within its scope.

See also:

FAQs,” FMO Web Catalogue
This link leads to records in the FMO Web Catalogue that describe other introductory resources.

Starting Points

This section lists several “all-purpose” sites that report on either different types of forced migrants or different responses to forced migration situations (i.e., humanitarian assistance, promotion of human rights, etc.). These sites tend to be updated frequently, offer a variety of resources to users, post full-text documents, and serve as reliable sources of information.

Forced Migration Online (FMO, UK)
Key features include thematic/regional research guides, digital library of full-text documents, back runs of key journal issues in full-text, web catalogue with descriptions and links to web resources, and an organizations directory.
Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC, Switz.)
Formerly the Global IDP Project. Key features include extensive profiles of IDP situations in 50 countries, a training programme on IDP protection, thematic overviews, information resources including a Global Overview of IDP trends, maps, bi-weekly news summaries, and promotion of an IDP network.
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC, Switz.)
Key features include full-text of the International Review of the Red Cross, a country-by-country listing of ICRC operations, a photo gallery, and an international humanitarian law database. The site is available in English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Russian and Portuguese.
NGO Network on the Question of Palestine (UN, U.S.)
Key features include background on the Palestine issue, an NGO directory, link to the UN Information System on the Question of Palestine which makes available official documents, a calendar of events, and maps.
ReliefWeb (OCHA, Switz.)
Key features include access to current information on complex emergencies and natural disasters, a directory of humanitarian organizations, a library of reference materials, funding information, training opportunities, and maps.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR, Switz.)
Key features include access to the complete texts of resolutions and reports from the Commission on Human Rights, the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, and the six human rights treaty bodies. Also available are human rights instruments, UNHCHR publications, and a calendar. The site is available in English, French and Spanish.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR, Switz.)
Key features include country profiles of refugee situations, refugee-related news, funding information, evaluation reports and analysis, statistical data, official documents of the Executive Committee, human rights reports, international instruments and case law, the full-text of the State of the World's Refugees and Refugees magazine, photos, maps. Portions of the site are also available in other languages including Arabic, Bulgarian, Chinese, Czech, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish and Ukrainian.
U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI, U.S.)
Key features include country profiles, articles, and statistical data from the World Refugee Survey, selected articles from Refugee Reports, audio resources, and news.

See also:

WWWVL on Migration and Ethnic Relations (ERCOMER, Neth.)
This subject gateway links to the following categories of resources: research centers, research programs, research-related sites, academic departments and courses, journals and newsletters, other publications, conferences and meetings, data archives, documentation centers, mailing and discussion lists, government and international bodies, NGOs, topic information, other links.

Country Profiles/Situation Reports

This section highlights some of the resources available that provide 1) overviews of the forced migration situations in different countries around the world, and/or 2) surveys of the causes for displacement. Country information is also available through the news and reports resources listed below.

Countries & Emergencies (ReliefWeb, Switz.)
Includes situation reports and press releases from refugee-assisting and humanitarian relief organizations. Organized by country and/or emergency; for each, users will find the latest situation updates, updates by sector (including “refugees and IDPs”), key documents, appeals & funding, background information, who is working in the country, a country profile, travel info., vacancies, and training opportunities; updated daily.
Country of Origin Information (UNHCR, Switz.)
This database aims to support the refugee status determination process by aggregating a wide variety of human rights and country information materials from reliable sources.
European Country of Origin Information Network (ACCORD, Austria)
Aggregates and provides access to over 100 sources of country and human rights reports to support the refugee status determination process. The site is bilingual (English and German).
FAO Country Profiles and Mapping Information System (FAO, Italy)
Aggregates FAO agriculture and development information and organizes it by country. Versions in Arabic, English, Chinese, French or Spanish are available.
IDP Database (IDMC, Switz.)
Includes extensive profiles of the IDP situation in 50 countries. Select country from drop-down menu or go to “Countries” section.
Refugee Conditions by Country (USCRI, U.S.)
Electronic version of the annual World Refugee Survey; profiles dating from 1997 are available. Each profile includes an overview of the refugee and/or IDP situation, summary of national laws and status determination procedures, and/or description of the country of origin conditions that led to flight. Links to further USCRI information is provided when available.

See also:

Country Information Resources (FMO, UK)
Browse page that lists additional background materials and country of origin information sources.

Finding Out about Research

Research Collections

Access to free online research services is an emerging resource type. These sites offer up collections of works-in-progress, summaries of new research publications, and working papers’ series.

Digests of Relevant Publications (ICAR, UK)
This resource provides access to summaries of recent reports on a wide range of UK asylum and refugee issues. Abstracts can be retrieved by title, author, author organization, geographical coverage, subject, or date.
Ethnic Conflict Research Digest (INCORE, UK)
Digest of peer reviews of research on ethnic conflict. Reviews can be accessed by subject, year of publication or keyword.
id21 Development Research Reporting Service (IDS, UK)
Includes searchable database of research summaries; can also browse by subject (e.g., click on “society and economy,” then “emergencies”). Also makes available Insights newsletter, a round-up of relevant research and links to other development research sites.
New Issues in Refugee Research (UNHCR, Switz.)
A series of working papers designed to provide researchers with an outlet for publishing preliminary results.
The Rosemarie Rogers Working Paper Series (Inter-University Committee on Migration, U.S.)
Working papers that address a variety of issues relating to refugees and forced migration.

See also:

Articles/Papers/Reports (Collection),” FMO Web Catalogue
Browse through this list to locate the research output made available on individual web sites.
Forced Migration Digital Library (FMO, UK)
Grey literature collection of full-text documents, including research materials.


Another way to find out about research is by contacting researchers and relevant organizations directly. The following resources provide profiles of people and their research interests and/or research institutes and their ongoing projects. Some directories include links to web sites, while others do not. The principal challenge with this type of resource is currency. Keeping this kind of information up to date and timely is time-consuming, and often, despite best intentions, the resource is not maintained. For example, directories created by the U.S. Committee for Refugees, UNHCR and the Social Science Research Council have all been discontinued during the past several years. At the same time, it is not always clear to the user how current a directory actually is because most tend not to indicate "updated as of" or "information correct as of" dates. This is not a well-represented information resource within the field of forced migration.

About Refugee Research (ICAR, UK)
Provides an overview of asylum and refugee research in the UK, and directs readers to several ICAR directories which can be consulted for further information about relevant research interests and projects at UK-based academic institutions, government agencies, and NGOs.
Directory of Organizations (ReliefWeb, Switz.)
Information can be located by country location or organization type. Each entry provides contact details, links to web sites, and if available, the organization’s latest information updates, maps, vacancy announcements, training opportunities, and relevant publications.
FMO Organizations Directory (FMO, UK)
To locate academic and research institutes, select “Advanced Search,” then the appropriate organization type from the drop-down menu.
IDP Research Network (Network Contact Unit for Research on Forced Migration and Internal Displacement, Norway)
This database includes information on research projects, publications and researchers focusing on internal displacement worldwide.

Indexes/Journal Contents Search Services

To date, no index has been published that culls references specifically from the forced migration journal literature. However, because forced migration is studied by a diverse range of disciplines, relevant articles — primarily citations to but increasingly the full text of — can be identified through indexes that have a broader focus. Although most of these services require paid subscriptions, several projects have been initiated to make indexes available in full online on a complimentary basis. In addition, journal publishers are increasingly offering search services on their sites, effectively creating an alternative form of the “index.”

Anthropological Index (Royal Anthropological Institute, UK)
Users can search for bibliographic references to anthropology articles by year, author, title, journal name, continent, region, or subject area.
Bibliography of Africana Periodical Literature Database (Institute for Economic Advancement, U.S.)
Search for articles relating to Africa by country, region, periodical, author, title or keyword.
Contents Pages from Law Reviews and Other Scholarly Journals (Tarlton Law Library, University of Texas School of Law, U.S.)
Allows users to search the tables of contents for law reviews received in the past three months by the Tarlton Law Library.
ECLAS: European Commission Libraries Catalogue (Belg.)
To search for periodical literature, highlight “Article” in the document type/type de document list, and enter a search term (e.g., a search for all articles relating to “refugees” retrieved over 460 records). Available in English and French.
EINIRAS Database Network
Catalogue of periodical literature focusing on international relations and area studies.
HighWire (Stanford Univ. Libraries, U.S.)
Database of periodical literature relating primarily to the sciences; access to both full-text articles and bibliographic references is available.
Quarterly Index of African Periodical Literature (Library of Congress Office, Kenya)
Index to articles in over 300 periodicals published in Africa.

Bibliographic tools

Use these resources to identify articles, conference papers, grey literature, books and other relevant documents. Note that many of the bibliographies are not current; this resource type tends to be compiled for a specific purpose at a given time, and as a result, is not usually updated. However, the bibliographic databases referenced below are relied upon by libraries to identify and retrieve relevant materials, and therefore, their holdings should be more up to date.


Bibliography on IDPs (Global IDP Project, Switz.)
Organized alphabetically by author; compiled April 2001.
Clinical Bibliography (Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, UK)
Organized thematically; author index also available.
Gender-based Persecution as a Basis for Asylum: An Annotated Bibliography, 1993-2002 (Law Library Journal, U.S.)
Organized by type of gender persecution, then by author.
Guide to International Refugee Law Resources on the Web (LLRX, U.S.)
Provides background information on and links to the principal legal texts and standards in the field of international refugee law, and directs users to other relevant legal resources on the web (e.g., national legislation, case law, journals, etc.). Updated February 2005.
Select Bibliography of Refugee Literature (UNHCR, Switz.)
Compiled September 2002.
Selected Bibliography on the Global Crisis of Internal Displacement (Brookings-CUNY Project on Internal Displacement, U.S.)
Extensive bibliography covering all types of displacement; organized thematically and geographically, then by date; compiled December 2001.

Library Catalogues/Bibliographic Databases:

Andrew Forbes Refugee Resource Centre (Centre for Refugee Studies, Can.)
Multiple search options available, including title, author, date, language, keywords, geographic terms, and free text.
Base Migrations Internationales (MIGRINTER, France)
English version
Search by author, title, abstract, date of publication, journal name, keywords, or ISBN.
Center for Migration Studies Library (CMS, U.S.)
Search and browse options available, by title, author and subject.
FINDOC (Institute for Human Rights, Finland)
Swedish version
Search by author, title, publication year, keyword, or convention. Records include an abstract and an extensive list of keywords.
IPS Library (Institute for Palestine Studies, Lebanon)
Search by title, keyword, author, publisher, or subject. Holdings are in Arabic, English, Hebrew and French.
PILOTS Database (National Center for PTSD, U.S.)
The web interface allows searches for PTSD literature by author, title, descriptors, form of material, year, etc. Records can be displayed in multiple formats, and include an abstract.
Refugee Council Archive at UEL, Web Catalogue (Refugee Research Centre, UK)
Select “Refugee Catalogue” from the drop-down “Collection” menu to search holdings of the Refugee Council Archive. Index terms are taken from the International Thesaurus of Refugee Terminology.
Refugee Studies Centre Library (Oxford University, UK)
Search by title, author, date, publisher, language, index terms or geographic terms. Index terms are taken from the International Thesaurus of Refugee Terminology.
UNHCR Library (UNHCR, Switz.)
Search by title, author, publisher, year, language, keywords, geographic terms, or free text. Index terms are taken from the International Thesaurus of Refugee Terminology.

See also:

The European Library (Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Neth.)
Catalogue that allows users to search the collections of 43 national libraries in Europe. Interface available in English, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Slovenian.
Libweb (Berkeley Digital Library SunSITE, U.S.)
Directory listing web sites of libraries around the world; organized by region. Mirror sites available in Europe and Asia.

Alerting Services/Current Awareness

Publishers of both books and web sites are increasingly taking advantage of e-mail to send out announcements of new publications or resources. Below is a selection of alerting services that are available from different types of publishers. Alerts (U.S.)
Bookseller that allows users to create a keyword profile; e-mail announcements are sent out whenever a new title containing one of the keywords becomes available. Note: You will need to create a separate Alert for each keyword or phrase of interest.
ID21News (IDS, UK)
Announces the most recent research findings that have been added to the ID21 site.
Oxford University Press (UK)
Journal and book publisher that offers a variety of e-mail services. Users can select a topic area, and subscribe to different lists in order to receive announcements of new book releases. Alternatively, users can sign up for a journal table of contents notification service.
The Scout Report (Internet Scout Project, U.S.)
Weekly report that announces new web sites and resources. Users can read the report online or receive it by e-mail.

Discussion Groups

Discussion lists or listservs represent a useful resource for sharing information. However, they are not ideally suited for an ongoing exchange of ideas. Increasingly, online fora are being established for this purpose. Examples are provided below of both types of resources.

Aid Workers Forum (Aid Workers Network, UK)
Online forum where relief and development workers can seek practical advice.
To join, visit the forum page.
CCRlist (Canadian Council for Refugees)
Refugee protection list for NGO representatives; not open to government officials or members of the media.
To subscribe, send an e-mail to with your name, organization and e-mail address; no archives currently available to the public.
FOFOGNET (Palestinian Refugee ResearchNet, Can.)
“Devoted to the Palestinian refugee issue”.
To subscribe, see the FOFOGNET page on the PRRN website. Archives are also available.
Forced-migration (RSC, UK)
“Aims to encourage greater exchange of information and to promote discussion on the problem of refugees and other victims of forced migration/involuntary resettlement…”
Subscribe online at the Subscription Settings page. Archives are also available.
Forced-migration-history (University of Manchester, UK)
“Serves to encourage the exchange of ideas and information on population displacement in twentieth century European history, and to explore the inter-relationship of migration/resettlement with nationalist, state formation, and the construction of social identities”.
Subscribe online at Archives are also available. Forum (U.S.)
Discussion forum that focuses on UNHCR’s refugee status determination procedures.
To contribute to the discussion, follow the submissions guidelines at

See also:

Communities of Practice (ReliefWeb, Switz.)
Directory compiled to encourage networking in the humanitarian field; lists discussion groups, professional associations, and networks by sector.


The term “blog” is short for “weblog,” which is, in its most basic form, “a chronologically organized site with the latest entry appearing at the top of the page” ( Because blogs provide users with a means to publish content online without any technical expertise required, they have become the platform of choice for disseminating opinions, reporting news, sharing information, and debating issues. In turn, blogs have helped to propagate the use of RSS newsfeeds. These are headline listings which can be displayed using a special newsreader. Together, blogs and RSS newsfeeds contribute greatly to keeping researchers informed of news and other information. Explore the examples below to get a better sense of how to use these new resources in your work.

FMO Homepage (FMO, UK)
Column on right side aggregates and displays newsfeeds from the following sites: Forced Migration Discussion List, UNHCR News, IDMC News, ReliefWeb News, and the Forced Migration Current Awareness Blog.
Forced Migration Current Awareness Blog (Elisa Mason, U.S.)
Service that highlights web research and information relating to refugees, IDPs and other forced migrants. (Paul Currion, UK)
Blog that reports on information management tools and their application in the humanitarian field.
IngentaConnect (Ingenta, U.S./UK)
Online research database that indexes journal articles and reports. RSS feeds are provided for each journal title in the database to inform users when new issues become available and what their contents are. For an example, see the listing for the Journal of Refugee Studies.
Mediablog (ICAR, UK)
Provides commentary on and links to current news stories.

Information Sources (full-text)


Current news is important for monitoring an unfolding humanitarian crisis. The resources below are regularly updated, provide international or regional coverage, and report on disasters, complex emergencies, conflict situations, and the displacement that results.

AlertNet (Reuters Foundation, UK)
News provided by humanitarian aid agencies that are AlertNet members. Current reports are available under “From the Field,” or via the search engine.
IRIN - Integrated Regional Information Networks (OCHA, Switz.)
Reports on humanitarian issues in Africa. Information is made available online or via e-mail in English and French.
ISN Security Watch (International Relations and Security Network, Switz.)
Focuses on conflict, peace and security issues. Includes latest headlines, news from the last five days, and a searchable news archive.
Migration News (University of California-Davis, U.S.)
Monthly newsletter with archived copies since 1994. Provides international news coverage and a book database (under “literature”). Users can view the newsletter online or sign up to receive an e-mail edition.
UNHCR News (UNHCR, Switz.)
Arabic version
Chinese version
Czech version
French version
German version
Greek version
Italian version
Japanese version
Korean version
Polish version
Russian version
Slovak version
Spanish version
Swedish version
Turkish version
Sources include full-text world news stories provided via NewsEdge, as well as UNHCR news reports, press releases and briefing notes.
World Refugee (World News Network, UAE)
Provides headline news from a wide variety of news sources; also groups news stories by broad topic. Includes links to related World News Network thematic news pages.

See also:

News Sources (FMO, UK)
Provides additional links to forced migration news sources.
World Newspapers (Lithuania)
Provides geographic access to online newspapers and English news sites; also provides country-specific news headlines and book titles. Search engine available.


A separate Guide to Forced Migration Periodicals has been compiled, which lists journals, substantive newsletters and other regularly produced publications that are relevant in the field of forced migration studies. The publications are divided into “full-text” and “table of contents/abstracts,” then sub-divided by the following themes: forced migration, humanitarian assistance/emergency management, human rights, and migration/ethnic relations.

Annual Reports/Yearbooks

A number of full-text annual reports are listed below, providing variously country-by-country coverage of human rights violations, United Nations human rights activities, humanitarian aid and assistance, food and nutrition situations, as well as overviews of the principal forced migration issues that arose during the preceding year.

Annual Reports (Amnesty International, UK)
Full-text reports for 1997-present
Arabic version
French version
German version
Spanish version
Annual Reports on Humanitarian Aid (European Community Humanitarian Office, Belg.)
To locate these reports in full-text since 2001, perform a “Document Search” in the Register of Commission Documents; first, select “Humanitarian Aid” from the drop-down menu next to the “Department Responsible” field, then type in “Annual Report” in the “Words in Title or Subject” field. The report is available in all EU languages; the language of the report can be selected using the drop-down menu in the top-right corner of the search results page.
Armed Conflicts Report (Project Ploughshares, Canada)
Full-text of current report
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices (U.S. Department of State)
For the Record (Human Rights Internet, Can.)
Annual summary of the UN's and European system's human rights work; both English and French versions can be accessed from here.
Human Development Report (UNDP, U.S.)
Full-text available since 1999, overviews and indices available for previous years.
Human Rights in the OSCE Region: the Balkans, the Caucasus, Europe, Central Asia and North America (International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, Austria) (1997-present)
Under the Topics drop-down list, select “IHF Annual Report on Human Rights Violations.”
Humanitarian Action Report (UNICEF, Switz.)
Current report.
Peace and Conflict Series: Global Surveys of Armed Conflicts, Self-Determination Movements, and Democracy (Integrated Network for Societal Conflict Research, U.S.)
Reports on the World Nutrition Situation (Administrative Committee on Coordination, Sub-Committee on Nutrition, Switz.)
Third and fourth reports available.
The State of Food Insecurity in the World (FAO, Italy)
English, French, Spanish, Arabic and Chinese versions since 1999 can be accessed from this URL.
The State of the World's Refugees (Oxford University Press, UK)
Biennial reports of UNHCR; 2000 edition also available in French, Italian, Russian, Arabic, German and Spanish.
World Disasters Report (IFRC, Switz.)
Summaries only.
French version
Spanish version
World Refugee Survey (U.S. Committee for Refugees)
Editions available since 2003; also see info. on individual countries in “Refugee Conditions by Country”
World Report (Human Rights Watch, U.S.)
Current edition; reports available since 1989; summaries in French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, or Portuguese as of 2002

International Instruments

Web addresses are provided for a selection of key instruments and standards, as well as for collections of human rights, statelessness, and other relevant conventions and treaties.

Specific titles (the country indicated in parentheses refers to the signatory location):

The Addis Ababa Document on Refugees and Forced Population Displacements in Africa, 1994 (Ethiopia)
Cartagena Declaration on Refugees, 1984 (Colombia)
Spanish version
Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, 1951 (Switz.)
French version
Spanish version
Declaration on the Protection of Refugees and Displaced Persons in the Arab World, 1992 (Egypt)
Geneva Conventions (Switz.)
French version
Spanish version
Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, 1998 (Switz.)
Available in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, and many other languages.
Organization for African Unity Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa, 1969 (Ethiopia)
French version
Spanish version
Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees, 1967 (U.S.)
French version
Spanish version
Recommendations for a South Asia Protocol/Charter for the Protection of Refugees, Migrants, Internally Displaced and Stateless Persons (Nepal)


Basic Instruments (African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Gambia)
Click on “Legal Instruments” in the menu, then select an instrument to display; in English and French.
Includes texts of principal human rights treaties in Africa.
Inter-American Treaties (OAS, U.S.)
Spanish version
Includes texts and state parties; can browse by subject or year.
International Human Rights Instruments (UNHCHR, Switz.)
French version
Spanish version
Organizes treaties by subject; access to status of ratifications provided for selected instruments. Does not include regional treaties.
International Humanitarian Law Database (ICRC, Switz.)
French version
Spanish version
Includes texts and state parties for humanitarian law treaties and commentaries on the Geneva conventions and protocols.
Legal Information (UNHCR, Switz.)
Spanish version
Provides access to universal and regional instruments in full-text, with lists of states parties and overviews of reservations/declarations.
Peace Agreements Digital Collection (U.S. Institute of Peace)
Provides peace agreements for 18 different conflicts; some texts available in multiple languages.
Treaty Office (Council of Europe, France)
Includes texts and state parties; offers multiple search options; English, French, German, Italian, and Russian versions accessible from this URL.

Policy Statements

These URLs link to the institutional policies and official documents of various key international and regional organizations mandated to provide assistance and protection to forced migrants.

Asian Development Bank, Involuntary Resettlement (Philippines)
Council of Europe, Committee of Ministers, Ad Hoc Committee of Experts on the Legal Aspects of Territorial Asylum, Refugees and Stateless Persons (CAHAR)(France)
In English and French.
Council of Europe, Parliamentary Assembly, Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population (France)
French version
ICRC's Role and Mandate (Switz.)
Arabic version
French version
Spanish version
Provides links to ICRC's Statutes and information on its legal basis.
Inter-American Development Bank, Involuntary Resettlement (U.S.)
Spanish version
Portuguese version
OHCHR, Documents (Switz.)
This database houses the principal documents of the former Commission on Human Rights and the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (formerly the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities). Available in English, French and Spanish.
UN Documentation Centre (U.S.)
Provides access to resolutions, decisions and selected documents of the General Assembly, Security Council, and Economic and Social Council, in the six official languages of the UN.
UN Information System on the Question of Palestine (U.S.)
Documents can be accessed by date, document symbol, title, type, subject, or source; a search engine is also available.
UNHCR, Executive Committee Documents (Switz.)
Arabic version
French version
Spanish version
This section includes the Conclusions on International Protection, Notes on International Protection, and Standing Committee reports. In addition, it provides access to EXCOM reports since 1995.
UNHCR, Statute (Switz.)
French version
Spanish version
World Bank, Revised Policy on Involuntary Resettlement (U.S.)
Select "Policy"

See also:

Legal Information (UNHCR, Switz.)
Database providing access to UNHCR policy papers (REFPOL), national refugee-related legislation (REFLEG), and international instruments (REFINT).

Operational Resources

Operational Guidance Materials (OGMs):

This category is defined by UNHCR as “manuals, guidelines, handbooks, kits, training materials, checklists, …as well as other related materials… [which] have the common objective of helping…field staff perform in their job… .” While any number of publications might be seen as “helping field staff perform in their job,” OGMs are characterized by their practical, “how-to” orientation. No comprehensive collections of these materials currently exist on the web, but several organizations make a selection of titles available on their sites.

New Zealand Digital Library (Univ. of Waikato, New Zealand)
Provides access to a variety of digital libraries housing humanitarian and/or UN collections. Topics covered include health, food and nutrition, environment, AIDS, development, Africa, etc.
Policy & Issues (Reliefweb, Switz.)
Includes a number of humanitarian titles, which can be browsed by date, source, and document type.
Publications (UNHCR, Switz.)
Includes the Handbook for Emergencies, Resettlement Handbook and Partnership Guides.
Reference Books (Médecins Sans Frontières, Belgium)
These guides cover emergency kits, logistical support, medical supplies and equipment, diagnosis and treatment, clinical guidelines, and refugee health. In English and French.
UNHCR Health, Food & Nutrition Toolkit (Regional Centre for Emergency Training in International Humanitarian Response, Japan)
Includes tools for field workers and an “Essential Reference Collection".

Principles of Humanitarian Assistance and Conflict Management:

This section includes declarations of minimum standards, codes of conduct, and guidelines for operating in a humanitarian crisis or a conflict situation.

The People In Aid Code of Good Practice (People in Aid, UK)
Available in English, French, and Spanish.
Code of Conduct for Conflict Transformation Work (International Alert, UK)
Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief (IFRC, Switz.)
Declaration of Minimum Humanitarian Standards, 1990 (Institute for Human Rights, Finland)
The Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (ICRC, Switz.)
French version
Spanish version
Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response, 2000 (Sphere Project, Switz.)
Principles of Humanitarian Aid and Recommended Code of Behaviour for Military and Civil Defence Personnel in International Disaster Relief Assistance in Times of Peace (“Oslo Guidelines”), 1994 (OCHA, Switz.)
Providence Principles (Humanitarianism and War Project, U.S.)
(see Appendix IV)

See also:

Operational Materials,” FMO Web Catalogue
Browse through further descriptions of handbooks and guidelines.
Sphere Reading Materials on FMO (UK)
Provides direct links to references from the Sphere Project’s Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response; most are to the full-text equivalent, but if this is not available, then only the bibliographic reference is noted.

Evaluation Reports

These resources facilitate the retrieval of program evaluations and reports of lessons learned during past humanitarian emergencies.

Active Learning Network on Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Assistance (ALNAP), Evaluative Reports Database (ODI, UK)
Searchable database housing evaluation reports; some are available to the public, while others are restricted.
A Case by Case Analysis of Recent Crises: Assessing 20 Years of Humanitarian Action, May 1999 (Médecins du Monde, France)
In .pdf format; posted on the Journal of Humanitarian Assistance site; reviews operations in Iraq, Somalia, the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Burundi, the former Zaire, Chechnya, and Kosovo.
Humanitarianism and War Project (Tufts University, U.S.)
Reviews experience of the international community in dealing with complex emergencies and makes recommendations for improving the humanitarian system. Offers a number of its reports in full text. (Note: Project terminated end of June 2006)
Policy Development and Evaluation Service (UNHCR, Switz.)
Posts full-text evaluation reports dating from 1994. Also provides links to other relevant evaluation sites and evaluation handbooks.

See also:

InterAction Evaluation Resources (U.S.)
For additional resources and suggestions relating to evaluation.

Non-Textual Information Sources

Statistics and Datasets

Asian Migration Atlas (Scalabrini Migration Center, Philippines)
Migration facts and figures for Asian countries; published in 2000.
EM-DAT: The OFDA/CRED International Disaster Database (CRED, Belg.; OFDA, U.S.)
Select “Search Disasters” from left navigation menu to view summary tables or lists for different regions/countries, various time periods and different disaster types.
Global Data Center (Migration Information Source, U.S.)
Includes migration/asylum data for Australia, Europe, and North America.
Minorities at Risk Project (Center for International Development and Conflict Management, U.S.)
Makes available a dataset with information on communal groups that meet the project's definition of “minority at risk.” Free registration is first required before the data can be downloaded. Profiles of over 200 groups are also available on the site.
Publications/Statistics (UNRWA, Pal.)
Variety of statistical figures relating to UNRWA's programs for Palestinian refugees.
Statistics (UNHCR, Switz.)
Includes UNHCR's yearly statistical overview, asylum figures for Europe, and statistical fact sheets for various countries.
Statistics (USCRI, U.S.)
Includes statistical tables from the current edition of the World Refugee Survey.

See also:

Data,” FMO Web Catalogue
Browse through further descriptions of forced migration-related statistical data.

Multimedia Resources (maps, photos, video, audio)

Image Database (FMO, UK)
Provides access to selected photographs by region; includes extensive collection of photos from Western Sahara.
Map Centre (Reliefweb, Switz.)
Includes general maps as well as thematic maps displaying areas affected by natural disasters, displaced populations, etc.
Maps (UNHCR, Switz.)
Includes basic country maps as well as thematic maps displaying movements, camps, etc. Organized by region.
Photo Archive (UNRWA, Pal.)
Black and white photos, organized thematically.
Refugee Voices (USCRI, U.S.)
Includes some 50 audio segments of refugee and IDP testimonials. Organized by country. Requires Real Audio (available from the site).
Visit a Refugee Camp (Doctors without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières, U.S.)
Requires Adobe Flash Player, although an HTML version is also available; provides introduction to life in a refugee camp; includes teachers' resources.

See also:

Image Collections,” FMO Web Catalogue
Browse through further descriptions of online photo collections.

Internet Search Tools

Subject Guides/Portals (Brian Whitaker, UK)
Includes links to country-specific web sites, news headlines from Moreover, and an A-Z directory. Compiled by the Middle East editor for The Guardian.
Asian Studies WWW Virtual Library (Coombs Computing Unit, Australian National University)
Provides access to a variety of Asian studies resources, and organizes links to web sites by region or country.
Conflict Data Service (INCORE, UK)
This service has compiled a number of different guides and databases to conflict-related resources, including a peace agreements collection, country guides, a researcher database, thematic guides, and an information bank with mini-collections of training, organizations, journals, and bibliographic resources, among other things.
EISIL: Electronic Information System for International Law (ASIL, U.S.)
This portal directs users to primary documents (conventions, treaties, etc.), web sites and research guides on a variety of topics in international law
ELDIS: The Gateway to Development Information (IDS, UK)
In addition to a searchable database of development-related web resources, this site offers a number of pre-prepared thematic guides with links to relevant organizations, documents, lists, directories and bibliographic sources. Also available are country profiles.
Human Security Gateway (Human Security Centre; Canadian Consortium on Human Security, Canada)
A database that provides access to electronic resources relating to human security. Retrieval options are by search term, geographic region, topic, or type of resource. In English and French.
Index on Africa (Norwegian Council for Africa, Norway)
Browse for news and information by subject and country.
International Humanitarian Law Research Initiative (Harvard Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research, U.S.)
Provides access to news, reports and analysis, legal instruments, resolutions and directives, judicial decisions, organizations, and specialists. Free registration required.
Internet Directory (Human Rights Internet, Canada)
Users can search for relevant human rights sites or browse by name, organization type, web site type, or country.
LANIC: Latin American Network Information Center (Univ. of Texas, U.S.)
Browsable subject directory, individual country directories, and search engine provided. Available in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
World Law Index (AustLII, Australia)
In addition to a subject directory, this index includes a powerful search tool that allows users to focus searches to specific legal topics. See especially the section on “refugees and asylum” under the “subject index” option.

See also:

Librarians‘ Index to the Internet (Berkeley Digital Library SunSITE, U.S.)
Subject directory with over 6,000 sites and resources selected and evaluated by librarians. All topics are covered. Note: Information is also provided on the team of librarians involved and the process for creating and adding records to the system.
Social Science Information Gateway (SOSIG, UK)
Resource for accessing key Internet information in the social sciences. Organized by discipline. Includes “Grapevine” feature for people to post announcements, CVs, or research interests.

Search Engines

Examples of subject-specific search engines:

Hurisearch (HURIDOCS, Switz.)
Human rights search engine.
Limited Area Search in the Fields of International Relations and Security (International Relations and Security Network, Swtiz.)
Meta Search Engine for Searching Human Rights Sites (University of Minnesota Human Rights Library, U.S.)
SuperSearch (, U.S.)
Searches selected human rights reports.

See also:

Search Engine Watch (Danny Sullivan, ed., U.S.) –
Includes a listing of search engines (both global, regional and some specialty search engines), tips for searching on the web, ratings of search engines, and other articles.
Last updated Sep 20, 2011