|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Antonio Manuel de Oliveira António Guterres Proposed for Re-election
as High Commissioner for Refugees By Secretary-General
United NationsSecretary-General Ban Ki-moon has proposed to the General Assembly the re-election of António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres of Portugal as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for a further term of five years, effective 15 June.
In 2005, the General Assembly elected Mr. Guterres as High Commissioner for Refugees for a five-year term from 15 June 2005 through 14 June 2010. Since that time, UNHCR has undertaken wide-ranging internal reforms allowing it to increase its activities by more than 50 per cent with essentially the same number of staff worldwide and 30 per cent fewer at headquarters in Geneva.
As a result, UNHCR has been able to dedicate more resources to the benefit of the people the organization cares for, allowing it to address critical gaps in the areas of sexual and gender-based violence, HIV/AIDS, malaria, malnutrition, reproductive health and water and sanitation.
Taking into account emerging trends, the organization increased its role in response to internally displaced people and developed new policies and increased its commitment to refugees trapped in protracted situations, in broader migratory movements and in urban areas.
Under Mr. Guterres, UNHCR helped nearly 3 million refugees return home voluntarily in safety and dignity, doubled the number of refugees referred annually for resettlement and made important breakthroughs in local integration. UNHCR is now seeking to increase its capacity in both protection and emergency response.
Prior to becoming Prime Minister of Portugal between 1995 and 2002, Mr. Guterres was a Member of the Portuguese Parliament from 1976 to 1983 and again from 1985 to 1995. As Portuguese Prime Minister, he was heavily involved in the international effort to resolve the crisis in East Timor.
As president of the European Council in early 2000, he led the adoption of the so-called Lisbon Agenda and co-chaired the first European Union-Africa summit.
A long time champion for refugees, Mr. Guterres chaired the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe’s Committee on Demography, Migration and Refugees in the early 1980’s and is one of the founders of the Portuguese Refugee Council in 1991.
Mr. Guterres has also been active in Socialist International, a worldwide organization of social democratic political parties. He was the organization’s Vice-President from 1992 to 1999 and President from 1999 until becoming the High Commissioner for Refugees in June 2005. He is also a Member of the Club of Madrid and of the Ibero-American Forum.
Mr. Guterres obtained an engineering degree from the Instituto Superior Técnico and remains a visiting professor there. He was born on 30 April, 1949, in Lisbon, and is married with two children.
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