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Yearbook of the United Nations 2009

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With its comprehensive coverage of political and security matters, human rights issues, economic and social questions, legal issues, and institutional, administrative and budgetary matters, the Yearbook of the United Nations stands as the most authoritative reference work on the activities and concerns of the Organization. Fully indexed, the Yearbook includes the texts of all major General Assembly, Security Council and Economic and Social Council resolutions and decisions, putting all of these in a narrative context of United Nations consideration, decision and action. In 2009, the Secretary-General called for the United Nations to become the hub of the new multilateralism. This latest volume of the Yearbook, the sixty-third, highlights the response of the Organization to the spreading economic crisis, ongoing food insecurity, and the influenza A(H1N1) pandemic, along with the looming climate crisis, against a broad spectrum of security, development, humanitarian and human rights challenges.

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Refugees and displaced persons

In 2009, the number of people of concern to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (unhcr) increased to 36.5 million (from 34.4 million in 2008), including 10.4 million refugees, 5.5 million of whom were living in a protracted situation. The number of internally displaced persons (idps) as a result of conflict reached an estimated 27.1 million, with an unprecedented 15.6 million of them receiving unhcr protection and assistance. The latter figure constituted an increase of more than 1.2 million compared to the 2008 total of 14.4 million. The number of stateless persons identified by unhcr remained at 6.6 million, although the actual number was estimated to be closer to 12 million. Humanitarian crises and political tensions not only uprooted millions, but also prevented the return of refugees and idps. Consequently, the number of returned refugees (251,000) in 2009 was the lowest in two decades. In contrast, the number of returned idps (2.2 million) was the highest in more than a decade. There were more than 922,000 claims for asylum or refugee status submitted to Governments or unhcr offices in 159 countries or territories, representing a 5 per cent increase over the previous year (875,300).

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