High Commissioner's mission to China

Briefing Notes, 17 March 2006

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Ron Redmond to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 17 March 2006, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres on Monday begins a 3½-day visit to Beijing, where he will discuss a range of issues with Chinese officials.

Mr. Guterres will meet senior officials from several ministries, including Commerce, Public Security, Foreign and Civil Affairs. Topics are expected to include migration and asylum issues in China; exploring the possibilities of Chinese participation in humanitarian operations for example in Africa where China has long-time experience; and the work of our Procurement Information Centre in Beijing, which we have established with the support of the Ministry of Commerce for the supply of humanitarian relief items.

The High Commissioner will also attend the launch of the Chinese version of the Inter-Parliamentary Union/UNHCR Handbook on International Refugee Law.

UNHCR established its office in China in 1980. The Beijing Regional Office covers mainland China, the Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions, and Mongolia.

The visit will be a first by a High Commissioner to China since 1997. Mr. Guterres will return to Geneva on Thursday.

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The High Commissioner

António Guterres, who joined UNHCR on June 15, 2005, is the UN refugee agency's 10th High Commissioner.

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