Vincent Cochetel: The Refugee Crisis in 2020

Talk Thursday, 13th February, 7:00PM

Over the last decade, migration has become an urgent political issue. The 2010’s have been marked not only by the global movement of people across national borders but also attempts by governments to stop them in their path. Nationalist movements are winning votes and the far right worldview has been mainstreamed.

Join Vincent Cochetel, Special Envoy to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, in conversation with, Sky News broadcaster, Tom MacLeod where he will present; an update on trends and causes of mixed migration flows from Africa to Europe, the humanitarian situation in Libya (detention, assistance and solutions), mutating conflicts across the Sahel and recent displacement trends, as well as recounting his own experience of being held hostage for 317 days.

Vincent Cochetel has worked for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, for over 30 years. He is currently Special Envoy for the Central Mediterranean situation, based in Tunis and focusing on the challenges posed by mixed migration flows in the Sahel and North Africa as well as the humanitarian response in Libya. Previously he was Director of UNHCR’s Bureau for Europe focused on the specific challenges in the region — like maintaining quality in asylum-seeking procedures, ensuring access to protection for those fleeing the conflict in Syria, combatting a rise in xenophobia, and allocating resources for those affected by conflicts of the past. In 1998, Cochetel was kidnapped near Chechnya and spent 317 days in captivity. But far from withdrawing from humanitarian work, the experience made him more determined than ever to improve the rights of refugees worldwide. He has written articles on numerous refugee issues and contributed to the drafting of several UNHCR training manuals related to staff safety, emergency management, and protection.


Tom MacLeod is a presenter and journalist working for both Sky News and the BBC World Service. He has covered international news stories including US and UK elections, the 2016 Nice terror attack, the 2016 Turkish coup d’état attempt and interviewed several Secretaries of State and UN ambassadors.