The High Commissioner
UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres
António Guterres became the 10th UN High Commissioner for Refugees on June 15, 2005. A former Portuguese prime minister, Guterres was elected by the UN General Assembly to a five-year term. In April 2010, the General Assembly re-elected Guterres to a second five-year term.
As High Commissioner, he heads one of the world's foremost humanitarian organizations. UNHCR has twice won the Nobel Peace Prize. Its more than 7,685 staff members work in 126 countries providing protection and assistance to millions of refugees, returnees, internally displaced people and stateless persons. More than 85 per cent of its staff work in the field, often in difficult and dangerous duty stations. UNHCR’s needs-based budget for 2013 is US$3.92 billion. By mid-2013, UNHCR had also issued supplementary appeals for about US$1.3 billion.
Before joining UNHCR, Guterres spent more than 20 years in government and public service. He served as Portuguese prime minister from 1995 to 2002, during which time 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. He also founded the Portuguese Refugee Council in 1991 and was part of the Council of State of Portugal from 1991 to 2002.
From 1981 to 1983, Guterres was a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, as well as chairman of the Committee on Demography, Migration and Refugees. In addition, he has been active in Socialist International, a worldwide organization of social democratic political parties. He was the group's vice-president from 1992 to 1999 and president from 1999 until mid-2005.
Guterres was born on April 30, 1949, in Lisbon and educated at the Instituto Superior Técnico, where he remains a visiting professor.
He is married and has two children.
- UNHCR chief urges Europe to help Bulgaria cope with Syrian refugee influx
- UN's High Commissioner for Refugees urges Europe to do more for Syrian asylum-seekers
- UNHCR chief urges states to maintain open access for fleeing Syrians
- UNHCR chief praises Ethiopia for open borders, refugee protection
- UNHCR's Guterres thanks Kuwaiti Emir for US$110 million donation
- High Commissioner's message for World Refugee Day, 20 June 2011
- Look Who's Coming to Europe, by António Guterres
- Making the most of human mobility, by António Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and William Lacy Swing, Director General, International Organization for Migration
- High Commissioner's Preface to Portuguese version of Samantha Power's book: "Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the fight to save the world", Geneva, January 2010
- A terrible dilemma