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Italian Diplomat Appointed UN Refugee Chief

  • VOA News

FILE - Filippo Grandi, at the time UNRWA Commissioner-General, is seen speaking during a press conference in Gaza City, March 25, 2014.

FILE - Filippo Grandi, at the time UNRWA Commissioner-General, is seen speaking during a press conference in Gaza City, March 25, 2014.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has named Italian diplomat Filippo Grandi as the new U.N. refugee chief to handle the world's worst refugee crisis since World War Two.

The appointment, which will have to be confirmed by the 193-member General Assembly, is unlikely to encounter resistance.

Grandi will replace Antonio Guterres of Portugal, who was U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees since 2005.

Grandi was head of the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency from 2010 to 2014, after serving as its deputy chief from 2005 to 2010. He was also deputy envoy to the U.N. aid mission in Afghanistan.

He worked for UNHCR in Sudan, Syria, Turkey and Iraq, and led humanitarian operations in Yemen and the Democratic Republic of Congo, among other countries.

The UNHCR said last week that refugees and migrants were expected to arrive in Europe at a rate of up to 5,000 per day via Turkey this winter.

Most of them are fleeing the more than four-year-old civil war in Syria, though many are leaving Iraq and Afghanistan.

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