Speeches of António Guterres as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres opens the Cartagena+30 ministerial meeting in Brazil. © UNHCR/B.Barata

Ministerial Meeting to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Cartagena Declaration on Refugees

It is an honour to be here in Brasilia, celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Cartagena Declaration. The Cartagena Declaration is not a simple adaptation of international legislation on refugees in Latin America. It is a fundamental milestone for protection frameworks on a global scale, because it goes beyond, it is more advanced and more progressive than the general regime defined by the 1951 Convention.

António Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees during the opening remarks at the 65th session of the governing Executive Committee. © UNHCR/J-M Ferré

Opening remarks at the 65th session of the Executive Committee

In Greece, more than two thousand years ago, Euripides famously said "there is no greater sorrow on earth than the loss of one's native land." Today, more people are living this sorrow than at any other time since most of us in this room were born. At the end of 2013, over 51 million people were in displacement due to conflict and persecution. By the end of this year, I am sure they will be even more.

Somali refugees in north-east Kenya’s Dadaab refugee complex. © UNHCR

Ministerial meeting at the Global Initiative on Somali Refugees

When we have a protracted refugee situation that runs for more than two decades, when more than two million Somalis are displaced inside and outside the country, when we see babies being born in Dadaab whose parents were already born in Dadaab, and when at the same time we see the focus of the international media moving from Africa in general and from the Somalia situation in particular, to concentrate more and more on the Middle East and on Ukraine, and when the global media and political attention of the international community is being diverted from this crisis, then I believe the Global Initiative on Somali Refugees is more necessary than ever. And I believe that this meeting, an essential pillar in the development of the Initiative, is an absolutely crucial one.

António Guterres at the Annual Pluralism Lecture, Global Center for Pluralism

Annual Pluralism Lecture, Global Center for Pluralism

Son Altesse l'Aga Khan, Excellences, Mesdames et Messieurs, je voudrais tout d'abord vous remercier pour l'opportunité de prononcer cette conférence annuelle au Centre mondial du pluralisme. C'est un véritable plaisir et un privilège. Et je tiens également à remercier la délégation de l'imamat Ismaïli pour son accueil et son hospitalité.

The cover of the report, which was launched today in Washington, DC. © UNHCR

Remarks at “Children on the Run” event, Migration Policy Institute

Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today about unaccompanied and separated children on the move in the Americas. I would like to express my particular appreciation to the U.S. Government, the MacArthur Foundation, the Migration Policy Institute, and UNDP for organizing this event.

High Commissioner António Guterres meets a forcibly displaced woman at the airport site in Bangui for internally displaced people. The Muslim woman told Guterres that she had lost everything and had no desire to remain any longer in Central African Republic. © UNHCR/H.Reichenberger

Security Council on the Central African Republic

I do not remember any field visit in my 8-year tenure as High Commissioner that caused me such anguish as my recent trip to the Central African Republic. I was deeply shocked by the brutality and inhumanity that have characterized the violence happening in the country and its consequences on the suffering of the people.

EU Stakeholders Conference “An Open and Safe Europe”

Thank you very much for inviting me to be a part of this important discussion about the future of home affairs policies in the EU, six months after the milestone adoption of the recast Common European Asylum System. This is an important step forward, with higher standards and gaps filled in several key areas, and I commend the European Commission – and Commissioner Malmström in particular – for having steered this process so successfully. Now, we must focus together on making implementation effective, and UNHCR stands ready to work with Member States, offering its practical experience and assistance.

Statement to the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly

This is the ninth year in which I have the honor to address this Committee. But this time my presentation includes both UNHCR's annual report and a 10-year Strategic Review, which takes stock of the major evolutions in refugee protection over the past decade and how they shape our outlook for the future.

Informal Meeting of the EU Council on Justice and Home Affairs

Thank you very much for the opportunity to address you again today. I am also very pleased to see Croatia here as a Member State. First of all, let me congratulate you on how far the EU has come in its efforts to develop a Common European Asylum System, and on the adoption of the Recast instruments last month. This is an important step forward, with higher standards and gaps filled in several key areas. To make implementation effective, UNHCR stands ready to work with Member States, offering its practical experience and assistance.

Security Council on Syrian refugee situation

There are now nearly 1.8 million Syrian refugees known to UNHCR in the region. Two thirds of them have fled Syria since the beginning of this year, an average of over 6,000 people a day. We have not seen a refugee outflow escalate at such a frightening rate since the Rwandan genocide almost twenty years ago.

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