The UNHCR and World Politics: A Perilous Path by Gil Loescher

By Gil Loescher

Over fifty years in the past, governments demonstrated the workplace of the United international locations excessive Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to be a human rights and advocacy association. this is often the 1st self reliant historical past of this hugely vital institution. Gil Loescher, one of many world's best specialists on refugee affairs, attracts upon many years of non-public adventure and examine to ascertain the origins and evolution of the UNHCR, settling on a few of the significant demanding situations dealing with the association within the years forward. A key concentration is the level to which the evolution of the UNHCR has been framed by means of the an important occasions of foreign politics prior to now part century and the way, in flip, the activities of the 8 previous excessive Commissioners have assisted in shaping the process global background. in spite of everything, Loescher bargains a chain of daring coverage concepts aimed toward making the employer a better and responsible suggest for the thousands of refugees on this planet at the present time.

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McDonald, could do little. Frustrated, he quit his post in 1936; but in his letter of resignation he underscored the political roots of the problem and the limitations of the international response: The efforts of the private organizations and of any League organization for refugees can only mitigate a problem of growing gravity and complexity. In the present economic conditions of the world, the European States, and even those overseas, have only a limited power of absorption of refugees. ) McDonald believed that it was not enough simply to assist those who fled from the Third Reich.

However, not only did governments keep the mandate of the High Commissioner deliberately narrow throughout this period, but they also refrained from adopting a universal 28 INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION OF REFUGEES definition of the term refugee for fear of opening the door to international recognition of political dissidents in any state, including the Great Powers. Anti-Fascist Refugees In the 1930s, Europe became flooded with new groups of refugees, this time fleeing fascism in Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Spain.

The High Commissioner for Refugees In 1920, Fridtjof Nansen, the world famous Norwegian explorer, was given the task of negotiating the repatriation of Russian war prisoners and a year later he was appointed the first High Commissioner for Refugees with specific responsibilities for Russian refugees only. The League established strict guidelines within which refugee work had to take place. 12 For most of the interwar period, the international refugee regime ran on extremely limited ad hoc budgets, put together without benefit of long-range planning.

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