Mahanirban Calcutta Research group



Sadako Ogata was the only Japanese and first woman to run the UN Refugee Agency, which she did with a determination and vision that greatly expanded the concept of International relief. She is best known for the decade, from early 1991 to late 2000, that she served as UN High Commissioner at a time of great global conflict, from Africa and south-east Asia to the Balkans, when those fleeing strife were most in need of help. Most notably, prompted by what happened to Iraqi Kurds in the first Gulf war, Ogata, who has died in Tokyo at the age of 92, extended UNHCR’s operations to include assistance for the internally displaced as well as to those crossing national borders. She had no qualms about taking on governments — even her own nominal bosses at the UN — whenever they frustrated her humanitarian efforts.... Read More