Secretary-General of EDU pays personal homage to UNHCR heroes
The Secretary-General of the Intergovernmental Organization EDU, His Excellency Irving Le-Vance, recently paid a courtesy visit to the Headquarters of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, also known as the United Nations Refugee Agency, in Geneva.
Drawing on his own memories of the trauma of himself being a refugee as a result of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, the Secretary-General paid tribute to the essential work carried out by UNHCR staff, which number over 7000 people in 125 countries, and who assist close to 33 million refugees and displaced persons worldwide.
The UNHCR is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees.
It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country. It also has a mandate to help stateless people.
Current world events mean that the UNHCR has rarely been called upon more than it is at the moment.
Such work is not without its risks.
His Excellency was honoured to be allowed to pay his personal respects, at the UNHCR Memorial to those humanitarian workers that have been killed or injured in the line of duty, with the lighting of a candle.
The Memorial was actually closed to visits at that time and the Secretary-General was thankful for the kind intervention of the professional and courteous members of the United Nations Security and Safety Service who arranged for the facility to be opened especially for his visit.
Ambassador and Spokesperson, actress Angelina Jolie discusses the critical work of the UNHCR for refugees worldwide