United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration

United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration

The United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) was proposed to the United States Congress by president Franklin Delano Roosevelt on June 9, 1943 to provide relief to areas liberated from Axis powers after World War II. Roosevelt had already obtained the approval of the governments of the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and China, and sought to obtain the endorsement of 40 other governments to form the first "United Nations" organization.

UNRRA provided billions of US dollars of rehabilitation aid, and helped about 8 million refugees. It ceased operations in the DP camps of Europe in 1947, and in Asia in 1949, upon which it ceased to exist. Its functions were transferred to several UN agencies, including the International Refugee Organization.

Founding and authority

The [http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/policy/1943/431109a.html Agreement for United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration] founding document was signed by 44 countries in the White House in Washington, November 9, 1943. UNRRA was headed by a Director-General, and governed by a Council (composed of representatives of all state parties) and a Central Committee (composed of representatives of the U.S., the U.K., the dominion of Canada, the Republic of China, and the U.S.S.R.). The other countries who signed the agreement included: Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, the French Committee of National Liberation, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Iceland, India, Iran, Iraq, Liberia, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, South Africa, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Yugoslavia.

Although the UNRRA was called a "United Nations" agency, it was established prior to the founding of the United Nations. The explanation for this is that the term "United Nations" was used at the time to refer to the Allies of World War II, having been originally coined for that purpose by Roosevelt in 1942.

Although initially restricted by its constitution to render aid only to nationals from the United Nations (the Allies), this was in response to pleas from Jewish organizations who were concerned with the fate of surviving Jews of German nationality, late in 1944 changed to also include "other persons who have been obliged to leave their country or place of origin or former residence or who have been deported therefrom by action of the enemy because of race, religion or activities' in favor of the United Nations."

Although UNRRA operated in occupied Germany, primarily operating Displaced persons camps, the organization did not render assistance to ethnic Germans.

In Asia the organization provided assistance in China including the territory of Taiwan after the surrender of Japan in 1945. There have been allegations of severe misappropriation of the aid by the Chinese government.

The organization was subject to the authority of the Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Forces (SHAEF) in Europe and was directed by three Americans during the four years of its existence. Its first director-general was Herbert Lehman, former governor of New York. He was succeeded in March 1946 by Fiorello La Guardia, former mayor of New York City, who was in turn followed by Major General Lowell Ward Rooks in early 1947.

ee also

*Chinese National Relief and Rehabilitation Administration


*New York Times, June 10, 1943: "President to Seek Food Relief Set-Up"

External links

* [http://www.dp-camp-wildflecken.de/unra-english.htm Camp Wildflecken - 1945 UNRRA Camp]
* [http://archives.un.org/unarms/en/photogallery/photogallery_poland.html UN Archive - Photo gallery of UNRRA activity in Poland]

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