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Norway: Jan Egeland new Secretary General of Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)

Posted by African Press International on June 7, 2013

Jan Egeland has been appointed new Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), the largest humanitarian organization in Norway. Egeland was UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (2003-06), and currently holds the position as Europe Director of Human Rights Watch.

“As Secretary General of NRC, Egeland will be a courageous spokesperson for the displaced people in the world. Through his career, Egeland has built experience and expertise that make him uniquely qualified to lead the organization towards its vision of ’Rights Respected and People Protected’. Together with the dedicated staff of NRC, Egeland will continue to build NRC as a leading international humanitarian organisation”, says Idar Kreutzer, Chairman of the Board of NRC.

When Egeland was UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs (2003-06) he initiated a wide-reaching reform of the international humanitarian system, strengthened the partnership between UN agencies and NGOs and lead the international humanitarian response to the Indian Ocean Tsunami and emergencies from Darfur and Central Africa to Lebanon and the Horn of Africa. Since then, he has been Executive Director of the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) and is currently Europe Director of Human Rights Watch. Earlier, Egeland has been Secretary General for the Norwegian Red Cross, UN Special Advisor for the peace negotiations in Colombia and Norwegian Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs from 1990 to 1997. Egeland has served on the board of the International Crisis Group and held several positions with Amnesty International. In 2006 he was named by Time Magazine as “one of 100 people who  shape our world.”

In a statement, Mr Egeland says: “In wars and disasters around the world I have often witnessed how NRC is able, against all odds, to provide lifesaving relief to those in greatest need. The acronym ‘NRC’ has become synonymous with effective relief for displaced people and stand-by experts for humanitarian operations world-wide. It is with great pride that I look forward to take up the position as Secretary General. The humanitarian disaster unfolding in Syria will be an immediate priority in our work, but NRC will remain a leading force for the civilian population in the worst displacement crisis world-wide. We will be there when the needs are greatest – from Central Africa to  Afghanistan and from Sudan to Colombia.”

NRC is a leading Norwegian humanitarian organization, assisting more than 3 million beneficiaries in 2012 throughout 20 conflict regions. In addition, NRC seconded hundreds of stand-by experts to humanitarian operations in over 50 countries during 2012. NRC was founded in 1946 and currently has 3,500 staff. Egeland will take over from Elisabeth Rasmusson, who in April 2013 became Assistant Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP).


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