Media Release

6 October 2009

Australian elected as Chair of Executive Committee of the Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Australia's Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Ms Caroline Millar, has been elected as Chair of the Executive Committee of the Office of UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

In a short statement to the Committee, Ms Millar congratulated the outgoing Costa Rican Chair and said she intended to build on the work of the previous Chairs to advance the Committee's important role in guiding UNHCR.

Nearly 32 million people around the world are displaced, refugees or stateless. Ms Millar said she will actively engage with UNHCR to support its efforts in finding practical solutions to restore normality to the lives of the displaced of the world.

Ms Millar has wide-ranging experience in refugee issues. She is the outgoing Vice-Chair of the Executive Committee and was previously Australia's Ambassador for People Smuggling.

“From these roles I have gained an understanding of the impact of displacement on people's lives and the tragedy that can occur when some of the world's most vulnerable people are subject to exploitation,” said Ms Millar.

“I will work with UNHCR and the international community to address protracted refugee situations and to find durable solutions to existing situations.”

UNHCR is the lead UN agency responsible for coordinating international action for the worldwide protection of refugees and the resolution of refugee problems.

Australia has a long-standing relationship with UNHCR and was a founding member of the Executive Committee.

 

Media Enquiries: DFAT Media Liaison - 02 6261 1555