Students Staff

06 October 2016

Essex professor applauds nomination of new UN Secretary General

Professor Geoff Gilbert of the University of Essex Human Rights Centre has applauded the unanimous nomination of António Guterres as the next United Nations Secretary General.

Antonio Guterres

Antonio Guterres

The former Portuguese Prime Minister, who was also UN High Commissioner for Refugees from 2005 to 2015, is set to replace Ban Ki-Moon when he steps down in the New Year. In June 2016 he called for open borders and greater protection for refugees when he delivered the University’s Annual Human Rights Lecture.

Speaking after today's announcement, Professor Geoff Gilbert, who has worked with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) for several decades said: "The likely appointment of António Guterres as the next Secretary-General of the United Nations offers a very bright glimmer of hope to a world facing so many crises.

"His decade as High Commissioner for Refugees from 2005-15 was one where the organisation faced some of its greatest challenges but to which they responded with success. The #ibelong campaign on behalf of stateless persons who had largely been ignored was promoted so strongly by him; he was so persuasive in getting governments to address the Syrians fleeing to Europe when the crisis first arose.

"Working with UNHCR for 20 years and seeing all he achieved, I am delighted that he will be the next Secretary General."

Speaking after the Annual Human Rights Lecture Mr Guterres praised Essex’s commitment to promoting refugee protection and teaching international refugee law in a video interview.

...more news releases