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The UNHCR and World PoliticsA Perilous Path$
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Gil Loescher

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199246915

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199246912.001.0001

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The Cold War Origins of the UNHCR Under Gerrit Jan van Heuven Goedhart

The Cold War Origins of the UNHCR Under Gerrit Jan van Heuven Goedhart

(p.50) 3 The Cold War Origins of the UNHCR Under Gerrit Jan van Heuven Goedhart
The UNHCR and World Politics

Gil Loescher (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

UNHCR was created with a mandate for refugee protection and to provide solutions to refugee problems, but with practically no funds with which to carry out these functions. Despite the inauspicious beginnings of the UNHCR and the opposition of the US and the Soviet Union in the early Cold War period, the first High Commissioner, Gerrit Jan van Heuven Goedhart, convinced the major powers that their interests in political stability in Europe converged with those of the UNHCR. By gradually enlarging the scope of his office, by obtaining the capacity for independent fund raising through the UN Refugee Emergency Fund and by assuming material assistance responsibilities, the High Commissioner paved the way for the UNHCR to become the centrepiece of the emerging international refugee regime.

Keywords:   Cold War, Europe, Gerrit Jan van Heuven Goedhart, international refugee regime, material assistance, refugee protection, Soviet Union, UNHCR, UN Refugee Emergency Fund, USA

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