Ban names former UN humanitarian official as Special Adviser on 2016 refugee and migrant summit

Karen AbuZayd. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

5 January 2016 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced today the appointment of Karen AbuZayd of the United States as Special Adviser for an upcoming UN summit on managing large-scale movements of migrants and refugees.

The Summit on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants is scheduled in the UN General Assembly for 19 September, one day before the opening of the Assembly’s 2016 General Debate.

According to a statement issued by the UN Spokesperson, Ms. AbuZayd will work with UN entities and undertake consultations with world body’s Member States and other relevant stakeholders in the lead up to the Summit. This will include overseeing the Secretary-General’s report on large movements of refugees and migrants, to be submitted to the General Assembly in May.

Ms. AbuZayd has extensive United Nations experience in humanitarian and human rights work in numerous countries. Since 2011, she has served as a Commissioner on the Independent Inquiry Commission on Syria. In 2005, Ms. AbuZayd was appointed Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and served in that position until 2010.

The new Special Adviser also worked for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for 19 years, including as Chief of Mission in Sarajevo during the Bosnian war, as well as positions in Sudan, Namibia and Sierra Leone. She also served in UNHCR’s Geneva headquarters, as Chef de Cabinet to the High Commissioner and as Regional Representative for the US and the Caribbean.


News Tracker: past stories on this issue

Refugees and migrants braving seas to flee to Europe in 2015 top one million – UN

Related Stories






In-depth Interviews