António Guterres: Refugees have the right to be protected


BBC News reports: The nomination of Antonio Guterres as next UN secretary general came despite efforts by some politicians for the role to go to a woman, or to someone from eastern Europe.

He is widely expected to select a woman as deputy secretary-general, having said that “gender parity” is crucial at the United Nations.

Speaking earlier this year, Richard Gowan, a UN expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said insiders believed Mr Guterres, from Portugal, “could give the UN the kind of kick up the backside it needs”.

Mr Guterres was born in Lisbon in 1949. He studied engineering and physics at the Instituto Superior Tecnico, before going into academia after graduating in 1971.

But academia only held the fervent Catholic’s interest for a couple of years. He joined the Socialist party in 1974 – the same year five decades of dictatorship came to an end in Portugal – and soon became a full-time politician.

In 1995, three years after being elected the Socialist party’s secretary general, he was voted in as prime minister, a position he held until 2002.

Then Mr Guterres, fluent in Portuguese, English, Spanish and French, turned his attention to the world of international diplomacy, becoming the UN’s high commissioner for refugees in 2005. [Continue reading…]

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