Chapter

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

Gil Loescher

in The UNHCR and World Politics

Published in print May 2001 | ISBN: 9780199246915
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599781 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199246912.003.0003
 The Cold War Origins of the UNHCR Under Gerrit Jan van Heuven Goedhart

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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

Chapter.  14607 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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