Secretary-General Appoints George William Okoth-Obbo of Uganda Special Adviser on Responsibility to Protect

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced today the appointment of George William Okoth-Obbo of Uganda as his Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect.  He will succeed Karen Smith of South Africa, to whom the Secretary-General is deeply grateful.

Currently Assistant Secretary-General and Secretary and Head of the Secretariat of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement, a position to which he was appointed by the Secretary-General in 2019, Mr. Okoth-Obbo has had a United Nations career spanning over 30 years,  serving as Assistant High Commissioner for Operations, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) (2015-2019); Director of the Organization’s Regional Bureau for Africa (2009-2015); Director of its Division of International Protection (2006–2009); and as UNHCR Representative in Kenya (2001-2006) and Zambia (2001). 

He was also Deputy Director in the UNHCR Regional Directorate for Southern Africa (2000-2001); Senior Policy Officer in the same office (1998-2000); Assistant Representative for Protection in Ethiopia (1995-1998); Senior Legal Adviser in the Regional Bureau for Africa (1991-1995); Senior External Relations Officer, UNHCR Headquarters (1989-1991); Protection Officer in Lesotho (1987-1989) and in Swaziland (1987); and Associate Protection Officer in Botswana (1984-1987).

Mr. Okoth-Obbo holds a Master of Laws degree from the University of Nairobi, a Bachelor of Laws from Makerere University and a diploma in legal practice from the Law Development Centre in Uganda.  Prior to joining UNHCR, he was a Lecturer in Law at the Law Development Centre and Faculty of Law at Makerere University respectively.


*     This supersedes Press Release SG/A/1546 of 12 February 2015.

For information media. Not an official record.