Despite the hopes at the start of this decade, massive
displacements of populations as a result of conflict, civil strife and
atrocities continue. Displacement has been the objective of gross violations of
human rights as well as a consequence of actions with other primary aims.
Much attention has been focused on improving emergency
response to the needs of refugees. Whether for large groups or for individual
victims of persecution, it is recognised that this response must go beyond the
provision of material relief. The response must also address their social, human
and emotional needs, and help to heal psychological wounds.
Helping people to help themselves and to help others in need
is at the heart of the community services approach advocated herein. This
support must start at the earliest possible opportunity and continue in a
structured and well-planned manner, reaching and giving priority to those who
need it most.
These revised manuals seek to strengthen community services
by providing practical guidance to those closest to the refugees. The manuals
cover refugee emergencies, assistance to disabled refugees, urban refugees and
working with unaccompanied minors. They reflect experiences and lessons learnt
since the preparation of the original version.
Comments and suggestions for improvements are most welcome
and should be addressed to Community Services (TS00), UNHCR Headquarters, C.P.
2500, CH-1211 Geneva 2 depot., Geneva.
With best wishes for your work.
Nicholas Morris, Director
Division of Programmes
& Operational Support
United Nations High Commissioner for
Community Services activities are based on certain
fundamental principles about human beings, they are:
1. The dignity and worth of individual human beings.
2. The capacity of persons to change no matter how desperate
3. Inherent desire of all human beings to belong to and
contribute to a larger supportive community.
4. Every person has a right to live a full human life, and to
improve his circumstances.
5. Persons are entitled to help when they are unable to help
6. Others have a duty to help those who are unable to help
7. The ultimate goal of Community Services is