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Gillian Triggs appointed UNHCR's Assistant High Commissioner for Protection

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Gillian Triggs appointed UNHCR's Assistant High Commissioner for Protection

9 August 2019

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi has today welcomed the appointment of Ms. Gillian Triggs as Assistant High Commissioner for Protection to oversee the agency’s international protection work for millions of refugees, internally displaced, stateless and other people of concern.

Ms. Triggs, an Australian national, replaces Mr. Volker Türk, who left UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, in July this year to assume the position of Assistant Secretary-General for Strategic Coordination at the United Nations in New York.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres appointed Ms. Triggs today, and she is expected to take up her new position shortly. The roles of High Commissioner, Deputy High Commissioner, Assistant High Commissioner for Operations, and Assistant High Commissioner for Protection together comprise the top four positions in UNHCR’s senior management structure.

Announcing the appointment of Ms. Triggs, Grandi noted that she comes to the UN Refugee Agency after recently completing a five-year term as President of the Australian Human Rights Commission. She is currently Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow and Emeritus Professor at the University of Melbourne.

During her rich career Ms Triggs has held a number of other eminent appointments. She has an extensive history of dedicated service to human rights and the refugee cause in Australia, the broader Asia-Pacific region and globally.

A highly renowned expert in international law, Ms. Triggs has demonstrated considerable professional expertise, advocacy and leadership abilities in a number of roles, including as President of the Asian Development Bank Administrative Tribunal, Chair of the UN Independent Expert Panel of Inquiry into Abuse of Office and Harassment in UNAIDS, Dean of International Law at the University of Sydney and as Director of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law in London.

“Gillian Triggs brings to UNHCR extensive expertise, knowledge and vast experience in international refugee protection that will contribute enormously to our efforts to protect, assist and find solutions for those forced by violence and persecution to flee their homes,” Grandi said. “At this challenging time when displacement globally is at record levels, this appointment reaffirms our commitment to international protection as the core of all of UNHCR’s work on behalf of the world’s refugees, displaced and stateless people.”

Ms. Triggs has been closely associated with a number of not-for-profit organisations throughout her career, including through her current role as Chair of Justice Connect, an organisation that connects 10,000 lawyers to provide pro bono advice to asylum seekers and others in need of legal support in Australia.