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Asian refugee collection

Collection Details

Asian refugee collection held at Refugee Studies Centre Library [Institution record]

Description of Collection

Content description

The Asian refugee collection, numbering almost 10,000 items, is part of the main RSC Library reference collection. It comprises information on all the countries listed for Central Asia and the Caucasus, East Asia, Near and Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and South East Asia. The main subject focus of the collection relates to the causes, experiences, consequences and implications of forced displacements. In reflecting the multi-disciplinary nature of forced migration studies the Library actively collects material covering psycho-social issues, human rights, refugee law, relief administration, anthropology, international affairs, education, health and nutrition. The Asian collection is predominantly in English although a very small number of Middle East documents are in Arabic.

History and development

The main RSC Library was formally established in the late 1980s to accommodate the material generated by the then Refugee Studies Programme (RSP) which was established in 1982. As a consequence most of the materials date from this time. Early acquisitions tended to reflect the research projects then being undertaken by the Programme. Consequently the early part of the Asian collection holds a large number of documents covering the refugee crises in South and South East Asia, most notably in Vietnam and Cambodia, and in North East Africa, particularly Sudan, Somalia, Eritea and Ethiopia. Similarly several countries in the Middle East, Israel, Palestinian administered Territories and Lebanon generated a significant amount of material for the Asian collection in the 1990s.


The growth areas of the collection reflect those countries and regions experiencing conflict. Consequently the strengths of the collection are those where there has been a prolongued refugee crisis be it for political, economic or environmental reasons. The Asian collection fairly comprehensively covers the refugee problems faced by the peoples of South and South East Asia, the Middle East, Central Asia and North East Africa.

General arrangement and access regulations

All material in the Asian refugee collection is on open access. The grey literature is housed in one reading room, the books and theses in the adjacent room. The collection is organised according to a classification scheme created in conjunction with the British Refugee Council. This sorts material in the first instance by geographical region and country, and then by subject. Although the Asian refugee collection is reference only, access to the material is free of charge to visitors with a genuine interest in refugee issues.

Subjects of the Collection

Regions of Asia

Central Asia and the Caucasus, East Asia, Near & Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, South East Asia.


Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Cambodia, China, Cyprus, Djibouti, East Timor, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Somalia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, The Philippines, Tibet, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen.

Languages of material

Arabic, English.


Anthropology, Development, Economics, Education, Geography, History, Human rights, International relations, Law, Philosophy, Politics and government, Sociology, Women.

Collection Material and Size of Collection

Material Types

Archival materials (includes non-published & mixed material), Books, Official publications, Serials, Theses, Visual materials (includes photographs, prints, drawings, videos & films).

Total size of collection

Approximately 10,000 items in total. 3,400 monographs (books and pamphlets), 6,400 items of grey literature, 130 videos, 80 newsletters and journals

Collection Management Information

The collection is being actively developed, and the average intake has stayed the same.

Annual intake

Approximately 400 items.

Content date range

1970 to present

Interlibrary loan procedure

The RSC Library does not operate an interlibrary loan facility but will fulfil document delivery requests on application if within the UK copyright regulations. Please contact RSC Library staff for further information.

Collection Catalogue Information


All material in the RSC Library is catalogued on an internal bibliographic database called Cardbox. Books in the collection have been catalogued on OLIS but the grey literature has yet to be retrospectively converted. Users can access all RSC holdings through its online catalogue.

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