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Poul Hartling

When new refugee situations arise, it is vitally important that the concept of asylum be steadfastly upheld and the work of protection fully understood.

Poul Hartling served as foreign minister and prime minister of Denmark, before becoming High Commissioner in 1978. During his eight years in office, the mass exodus in Indochina and international reaction thrust UNHCR into the spotlight. In response, we set up large-scale emergency relief operations in Asia, the Horn of Africa and Central America.

In 1981, under Hartling’s tenure and in recognition of the key role that UNHCR played in helping to manage the Vietnamese refugee crisis, our organisation was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for a second time.