Although refugees have existed throughout history, the period of the 1990s has witnessed a rapid trend of large-scale refugee movements due to the changing nature and increasing complexity of conflicts in the postCold-War era. As a result, the role of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), established in 1951 to provide international protection to refugees and find lasting solutions to their problems, has also expanded and diversified. As of 1998, the number of refugees and other persons of concern to UNHCR was approximately 22 million, up from some 13 million in 1991.