UNHCR High Commissioner visits Sri Lanka

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 26 July 2006, 08:03 GMT]
Mr. Antonio Guterres, the head of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees began a three-day visit Sri Lanka, Tuesday. The visit will be the first by a head of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to the country, where it has been working with conflict-displaced people since 1987, according to UN news centre.

Mr.Antonio Guterres, the High Commissioner of UNHCR met Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapksa at Temple Trees on Tuesday. SL Foreign Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe also accompanied Rajapakse.

Antonio Guterres
António Guterres, High Commissioner, UNHCR.
"The purpose of his visit is to meet displaced people in the north and east of the country and hear first-hand their concerns and needs. He will also meet UNHCR staff to discuss their humanitarian work," UN news centre reported, quoting UNHCR spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis in Geneva.

High Commissioner António Guterres met with Sri Lankas President Mahinda Rajapakse, Tuesday evening.

António Guterres is scheduled to visit several parts of the country where a large number of Tamil and Muslim IDPs live in the North-East, UNHCR sources in Colombo said.

He is expected to meet Government officials as well as members of the LTTE, according to UN news centre.

Antonio Guterres is a former Prime Minister of Portugal and a former President of the European Council (EC).

UNHCR has twice won the Nobel Peace Prize and its 6500 staff members are currently working in over one hundred countries providing protection and assistance to about 20.8million refugees.

More than eighty percent of its staff works in the field, often in difficult and dangerous duty stations, UNHCR sources said.


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