Speeches of António Guterres as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Security Council on Climate Change

Let me begin by expressing my sincere appreciation for this opportunity to address the Security Council. The past 12 months have witnessed many momentous, often disturbing and sometimes inspiring events, including those that have taken place in countries such as Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen.

Nansen Conference on Climate Change and Displacement

Your Royal Highness, Excellencies, Madame Chairperson, Ladies and Gentlemen, It is a great pleasure and privilege for me to be with you today. Fridtjof Nansen was by any standards a remarkable man, unswervingly committed to the protection of refugees, but at the same time a heroic adventurer who fearlessly ventured into lands affected by extreme climatic conditions.

Address to the European Court of Human Rights

Mr. President, the origins of the Council of Europe, of my Office and of this Court are intertwined. All were born out of the ruins of the Second World War, and all share a joint mission, and a joint vision, of respect for the rule of law and for human rights. My Office maintains a Representation here in Strasbourg in order to cooperate in the accomplishment of this mission, on behalf of refugees and stateless people in Europe.

High Commissioner’s Dialogue on Protection Challenges: Protection Gaps and Responses

The world has changed. The clarity of the displacement situation at the end of World War II and the certainties characterizing the conferral of refugee status during the Cold War are gone. Today's challenges are interconnected and complex. Population growth, urbanization, climate change, water scarcity and food and energy insecurity are exacerbating conflict and combining in other ways that oblige people to flee their countries.

“Current challenges in forced displacement and humanitarian action – challenges and opportunities” Annual Harrell-Bond Human Rights Lecture

Let me begin by saying what a pleasure and privilege it is for me to be with you and to present the annual Harrell-Bond Human Rights Lecture. I am very pleased that Dr. Harrell-Bond is able to be with us this evening. As many of you know, she has played a pioneering role in relation to refugees and the defence of their human rights, combining combined academic research and analysis with advocacy and activism.

Keynote speech “Refugee Protection and International Migration in the Gulf of Aden”

I am delighted to have the opportunity to address you on an issue which has figured conspicuously in my visit here to Yemen. I would like to thank the Government of Yemen not just for welcoming me but for welcoming us, all of us, to this two day conference on refugee protection and international migration. I am grateful to the European Commission for providing the funding which has enabled the conference to take place. I am grateful likewise for the efforts of the Mixed Migration Taskforce established under the aegis of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Protection Cluster for Somalia, which, among other things, commissioned the background paper for the conference.

Remarks at the European Parliament

It is a pleasure to be here today. I know how committed the European Parliament is to ensuring that asylum is provided to people in need of international protection. When we look at the world today, we see that the number of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons has remained relatively stable in recent years. There are about 16 million refugees (including the Palestinian refugees under the mandate of our sister agency UNRWA) and around 27 million persons displaced within their own countries by conflict and persecution.

High Commissioner’s Dialogue on Protection Challenges: Persons of Concern in Urban Settings

Welcome to Geneva for the third Dialogue on Protection Challenges, focusing on the problems confronting refugees, internally displaced people, returnees and the stateless in cities around the globe. It is a complex and engaging subject and I look forward to a thought-provoking discussion.

Remarks at the African Union Special Summit of Heads of State and Government on Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons in Africa

If I may briefly continue, I would like to add a few words in my capacity as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. African nations host some 2.3 million refugees today. Their numbers have steadily declined over the past several years. Working together, we have helped literally millions of refugees to find solutions and restart their lives. But let us not be complacent. 98 percent of the remaining refugees have spent five years or more in exile.

Opening remarks to the 60th session of the Executive Committee

Welcome to Geneva for this 60th session of the Executive Committee. I would like to extend an especially warm welcome to our newest Excom members, Djibouti and Moldova. Let me begin by thanking our Chair for most of the past year, Ambassador Laura Thompson Chacón, of Costa Rica, who left us to take up new responsibilities at IOM. I would also like to thank our current Chair, Ambassador Alberto Dumont, of Argentina, for agreeing to step into the breach.

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