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Félix Schnyder (Switzerland) 1960–65


Like his predecessor, Félix Schnyder was a Swiss diplomat who chaired the UNICEF Executive Board and served as Switzerland's observer to the United Nations before he was appointed High Commissioner. Schnyder oversaw the repatriation of Algerian refugees from Tunisia and Morocco, an operation which marked the first of UNHCR's many involvements in large repatriation and reintegration operations. He also secured General Assembly support for UNHCR's increased use of its 'good offices' role to mediate between governments in refugee crises globally, in particular in assisting Rwandan refugees in the Great Lakes region. In expanding UNHCR's activities in Africa, he helped to ensure further international recognition of the global character of the refugee problem. He played an important role in initiating the process which led to the adoption of the 1967 Protocol.