UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is pleased to announce that Maria Clara Martin has assumed her functions as the Agency’s Representative in Greece. She succeeds Mireille Girard, who led the UNHCR Office in Greece since early 2021.
Maria Clara Martin’s career in human rights, refugee and migration issues spans over 35 years, with experience in leadership posts with UNHCR in Ecuador, Belgium, Mozambique, Rwanda and Switzerland. She served as Head of Section for the Americas with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and has also worked for other organizations, including the World Food Programme, Amnesty International and the International Civilian Support Mission in Haiti, with prior experience working as a journalist with the BBC.
“I am delighted to take up my new role as UNHCR Representative in Greece”, said Ms. Martin. “Greece has been receiving refugees and asylum-seekers for many years, showing solidarity and compassion to the most vulnerable. I look forward to working together with the Greek authorities, partners, municipalities, civil society, and local and refugee communities towards protecting, supporting and finding long-term solutions for the men, women and children who are forced to flee their homes and seek sanctuary in Greece. While the situation has evolved since the 2015 crisis, conflict and persecution continue in many parts of the world and we need to work together to ensure access to international protection for those who need it”, she added.
UNHCR has been present in Greece since 1952. The Agency’s role evolved during the emergency period of 2015 and 2016 when it provided immediate operational support to the Government and humanitarian assistance to refugees and asylum seekers.
Today, UNHCR Greece continues to provide advice and to support institution building, promote refugee protection standards and support asylum-seekers and refugees with information provision, legal aid and the creation of opportunities for self-reliance and integration.