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Protection Must be a Priority for New Refugees Commissioner

Human Rights Watch raised concerns about the appointment of former Dutch Prime Minister, Ruud Lubbers, as the next United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The appointment of Mr. Lubbers, who has no previous refugee or humanitarian experience, came as surprise to many.

Given his lack of a track record in refugees and human rights, Mr. Lubbers should demonstrate an early commitment to ensuring that UNHCR remains faithful to its founding mandate - the protection of refugees," said Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch. "We've seen a disturbing tendency in recent years for UNHCR to abandon its protection mandate under pressure from governments. Mr. Luubers will have to overcome that tendency if he's going to be a success as a commissioner."

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