George William Okoth-Obbo

Release date:
May 26, 2015

George Okoth-Obbo is UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Operations. He was appointed to this position on February 12. 2015. Okoth-Obbo is a lawyer educated for his Bachelor’s Degree in Law at Uganda’s Makerere University; for his Diploma in Legal Practice at the Law Development Centre in the same country; and for his Masters in Law at the University of Nairobi in Kenya.

Before joining UNHCR, Okoth-Obbo was a Lecturer in Law at, respectively, the above-mentioned Law Development Centre and the Faculty of Law at Makerere University. Okoth-Obbo joined UNHCR in 1984 as an Associate Protection Officer in Botswana (1984-1987). He then served as Protection Officer in Swaziland (1987) and Lesotho (1987-1989) before being reassigned to UNHCR headquarters, where he first worked as Senior External Relations Officer in the Secretariat (1989-1991) and later as Senior Legal Advisor for the Regional Bureau for Africa (1991-1995). From August 1995 to July 1998, he served as Assistant Representative for Protection in Ethiopia. His next tour of duty was at the Regional Directorate for Southern Africa in Pretoria, South Africa, first as Senior Policy Officer (1998-1999) and then as Deputy Regional Director until 2001. For the first half of 2001, he was Representative on mission in Zambia before going on to become the Representative for Kenya from July 2001 until August 2006. In the latter month, he returned to UNHCR headquarters to become the Director of the organization’s Division of International Protection Services. He held this position until being appointed as the Director of the Regional Bureau for Africa, also at UNHCR headquarters, a position he took up on July 1, 2009.

He served in this position until his latest appointment as Assistant High Commissioner for Operations. Okoth-Obbo is a national of Uganda. He was born on April 24, 1956, and is married to Esther Okoth-Obbo, with whom he has two children.