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The International Relief Organisation (IRO)


"When the United Nations replaced the League of Nations in 1947, it established a new body, the International Refugee Organisation (IRO). The IRO’s mandate was to protect existing refugee groups and one new category - the 21 million or so refugees scattered throughout Europe in the aftermath of World War II. Initially, the IRO’s main objective was repatriation, but the political build-up to the Cold War tilted the balance instead towards resettlement of those who had “valid objections” to returning home. Such “valid objections” included “persecution, or fear of persecution, because of race, religion, nationality or political opinions”. Over a period of five years, from 1947 to 1951, the IRO resettled well over a million people (four-fifths of them outside Europe), while repatriating a mere 73,000.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) replaced the IRO in 1951."


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