IGF 2022 High-Level Track
Mr. Volker Türk
Mr. Türk is the current United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. He took up his official functions as High Commissioner on 17 October 2022.
He has devoted his long and distinguished career to advancing universal human rights, notably the international protection of some of the world's most vulnerable people - refugees and stateless persons.
Prior to this, Mr. Türk was the Under-Secretary-General for Policy in the Executive Office of the United Nations Secretary-General where he coordinated global policy work. He also ensured UN system-wide coordination in the follow-up to the Secretary-General’s “Call to Action for Human Rights” and his report, Our Common Agenda, which sets out a vision to tackle the world’s interconnected challenges on foundations of trust, solidarity and human rights. He previously served as Assistant Secretary-General for Strategic Coordination in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General (2019-2021).
As Assistant High Commissioner for Protection in the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva (2015-2019), Mr. Türk played a key role in the development of the landmark Global Compact on Refugees.
Over the course of his career, he held a number of key positions including at UNHCR headquarters where he served as Director of the Division of International Protection (2009-2015); Director of Organizational Development and Management (2008-2009); and Chief of Section, Protection Policy and Legal Advice (2000-2004). Mr. Türk also served UNHCR around the world, including as Representative in Malaysia; Assistant Chief of Mission in Kosovo and in Bosnia and Herzegovina, respectively; Regional Protection Coordinator in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; and in Kuwait.
Mr. Türk holds a doctorate in international law from the University of Vienna and a Master of Laws degree from the University of Linz, Austria. He has published widely on international refugee law and international human rights law. He is fluent in English and French and has a working knowledge of Spanish.