HIAS Welcomes Election of António Guterres as Next United Nations Secretary General

NEW YORK—The United Nations Security Council voted today to elect António Guterres as the next secretary general of the United Nations. Guterres previously served as the prime minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002, and as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from 2005 until December 2015. Pending formal approval from the 193-member General Assembly, he will become the ninth U.N. secretary general when Ban Ki-moon’s second five-year term comes to a close at the end of this year.

In response to Guterres’ selection as secretary general, HIAS President and CEO Mark Hetfield issued the following statement:

“I first met António Guterres shortly after he became High Commissioner for Refugees in June 2005, and HIAS has been working very closely with him and with UNHCR ever since. He is a statesman and humanitarian who was a transformational leader at the UNHCR, with a deep passion for finding solutions for refugees. Now, as the Secretary General at the United Nations, he can continue his important work helping the international community address not only the global refugee crisis, but the root causes and international conflicts that force people to flee their homes. There is no more difficult job in the world today than secretary general, but the Security Council could not have selected a better person to take on this challenge.”

Last month, Hetfield and HIAS VP of Policy and Advocacy Melanie Nezer briefed nearly two dozen members of the foreign press ahead of the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants at the New York Foreign Press Center of the U.S. Department of State. 


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