Tuesday 13 May 2008

Mary in Geneva for visit with UNHCR & WHO

High Commissioner António Guterres and Crown Princess Mary in discussion in front of a bust of Arctic explorer Fridtjof Nansen and beside a case displaying UNHCR's two Nobel Peace Prize medals. © UNHCR/S.Hopper
Crown Princess Mary is on a two day visit to Geneva meeting with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). Mary is the patron of the Danish Refugee Council and the World Health Organisation Regional Office for Europe. On the first day of the visit to Geneva Mary has been welcomed by High Commissioner for Refugees, Mr António Guterres, UNHCR staff and children of Danish staff. Afterwards she had a private meeting with Commissioner Guterres and then a working lunch at UNHCR headquarters. UNHCR has won two Nobel Peace Prizes, in 1954 and 1981. In the evening Mary attended a dinner hosted by Ambassador Marie-Louise Overvad, Denmark's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office and other International Organisations in Geneva. (More details and photos to follow...)

Danish Refugee Council
The UN Refugee Agency
WHO Europe
Climate Change: U.N. Braces for New Breed of Refugees - one of the new issues facing the UNHCR
United Nations Office in Geneva
Dansk Flygtningehjælp press release from the Danish Refugee Council -
HRH Crown Princess Mary visits UNHCR
In her role as patron of the Danish Refugee Council, HRH The Crown Princess visits the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Geneva on Tuesday, where she meets with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres, among others.
During the visit in Geneva the Crown Princess is accompanied by chairman Knud Larsen and secretary general Andreas Kamm from Dansk Flygtningehjælp.
"We are very glad that the Crown Princess has expressed a wish to further her knowledge of the global work for refugees," says Andreas Kamm. "UNHCR is a decisive player in the fugitive area, and it is therefore important for our patron to gain insight into the organization's principles and working methods."
In 2007 Dansk Flygtningehjælp and UNHCR entered into an agreement with the intention of strengthening the cooperation within the areas of protection, relief and the work of rights'-based spokespeople.
The two organizations work together in more than 20 countries, where fugitives and internally expelled need protection, necessities of life and long-term solutions.
UNHCR is one of the world's largest humanitarian organizations with 6.300 employees in 116 countries.
Dansk Flygtningehjælp works with about 5.000 employees in 30 of the world's focus areas.

UNHCR press release - Denmark's Crown Princess Mary visits UNHCR headquarters
GENEVA, May 13 (UNHCR) – Denmark's Crown Princess Mary on Tuesday made an official visit to UNHCR headquarters in Geneva, where High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres praised her country's global engagement in the refugee cause.
The Australia-born princess, dressed in a dark trouser suit, received a red-carpet welcome at midday in UNHCR's seven-storey atrium. She received flowers from three Danish children – Simon, 4, Astrid, 6, and Mathilde, 8, whose father Morten Ussing is a UNHCR staffer seconded to UNAIDS.
She spoke in Danish to the children and their mother before posing with Guterres for photos in front of the UN and Danish flags. Another group of children waved Danish flags as UNHCR staff looked on from the lobby and galleries above.
"It is my great pleasure to welcome you to UNHCR," Guterres told the princess during an introductory meeting in his office. "Denmark has a very long tradition of asylum ... and is a very relevant partner in refugee work worldwide."
The High Commissioner noted the very strong "strategic partnership" between UNHCR and the Danish Refugee Council, of which the princess is a royal patron. "You can be very proud of the work of Danish volunteers and civil society – they are brave, committed and effective," he said. "Denmark is one of our most relevant partners."
Guterres presented the princess, who also expressed an interest in the legal aspects of the agency's work and the 1951 Refugee Convention, with a UNHCR publication, "Refugee Protection in International Law."
Noting the difficult challenges posed by migration, climate change, environmental degradation, conflict and displacement, Guterres said the 21st Century "will be a century of people on the move" presenting complex protection problems.
Following a working lunch, the princess was given a series of informal briefings by senior UNHCR staff from the Department of International Protection Services, the Regional Bureau for Africa and the Division of Operational Services, which gave a demonstration of the agency's emergency room operations.
In addition to UNHCR's emergency and technical work, the briefings focused on international refugee protection, resettlement, internal displacement, durable solutions for refugees and children at risk.
At the end of her four-hour visit, Guterres showed [Crown] Princess Mary the agency's two Nobel Peace Prizes displayed in a glass case in the atrium, before escorting her to her vehicle. "It really was a valuable experience," she said.
Aside from the Danish Refugee Council, [Crown] Princess Mary is also royal patron of a number of other charities in Denmark that focus on health, children's welfare, diversity and refugee issues. She has established The Mary Foundation, which seeks to encourage tolerance of diversity and to improve lives compromised by environment, heredity, illness or other circumstances which can isolate or exclude people socially.

Denmark's Crown Princess Mary visits UNHCR headquarters from Reuters in English
¡Hola! - in brief - referring to Mary's two days visiting the UN agencies in Geneva and her interest in the issues.

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