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Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration (ICEM)

Founded 1951

Institution: Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration (ICEM)
ICEM was formed in 1951 and took up many of the duties relinquished by the United Nations Specialist Agency, the International Refugee Organisation (IRO). Like the IRO, ICEM's main functions were the identification, registration, classification, care and assistance, legal and political protection and transportation of Europeans desiring to migrate. Unlike the IRO, which dealt predominantly with displaced persons from World War II, ICEM's original mandate was to alleviate surplus population and assist large numbers of unemployed europeans to migrate.

ICEM was open to all governments and Australia played a key role in the conceptualisation of ICEM's constitution. By 1973, over 600,000 new Australians, both migrants and refugees, had received ICEM assistance. In 1973 the Australian government decided that it would go it alone and thus withdrew from ICEM. This decision was reversed in 1977 when Australia applied for observer status and then full membership in 1985.