High Commissioner Guterres sees mandate renewed for further five year term

News Stories, 22 April 2010

© UNHCR/B.Bannon
High Commissioner António Guterres speaking to a refugee family in Dadaab refugee camp, Kenya. The UN General Assembly voted on 22 April to extend Guterres' term by a further five years.

GENEVA, Switzerland, April 22 (UNHCR) – The UN General Assembly voted on Thursday to renew the mandate of High Commissioner António Guterres, extending his term by a further five years.

Guterres, who was first appointed to the post in 2005, said in a statement that he felt humbled by the decision, describing it as "a privilege and an honour to go on dedicating my life to supporting one of the world's most vulnerable groups."

Since his appointment in June 2005 there have been significant changes in the refugee world. The number of people under UNHCR's care has grown to 35 million, some three million people have been helped to return home voluntarily, and there have been important breakthroughs in local integration, such as the recent naturalization by Tanzania of more than 160,000 Burundian refugees from the group that fled there in 1972.

In his statement, Guterres focused on future work. "There are enormous challenges ahead," he said. "These include addressing rising threats to humanitarian and asylum space amid growing intolerance and xenophobia, and deepening reforms at UNHCR while strengthening our capacities in protection and emergency response."