High Commissioner to visit the Netherlands

Briefing Notes, 27 June 2006

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 27 June 2006, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

High Commissioner António Guterres will make an official visit to the Netherlands on June 28-29. He is scheduled to meet the Prime Minister, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, and senior officials at the Ministry of Development Co-operation, members of Parliament and NGO partners. Discussions will focus on the main refugee situations around the world, especially in Africa, as well as on European asylum and resettlement policy, and the humanitarian reform of the UN system.

The government of the Netherlands has been among UNHCR's top five donors for the past seven years. Last year, the Netherlands was the single largest source of private-sector contributions to UNHCR as well.

Although the number of asylum applications in the Netherlands has declined sharply from its peak in the early 1990s, the Netherlands remains an active player in the development of a common European asylum system. The Netherlands is one of just a few European countries which implement a refugee resettlement programme. The most recent Netherlands resettlement selection mission was to Thailand; the 99 refugees from Myanmar who were selected started arriving in the Netherlands last week.

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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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