Assistant Secretary-General, Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, UNHCR
Gillian Triggs is Assistant High Commissioner for Protection with UNHCR, taking up her appointment in September 2019. She is an international lawyer who has held a number of appointments in service to human rights and the refugee cause, including as President of the Australian Human Rights Commission.
Gillian oversees UNHCR’s protection work in support of millions of refugees, asylum-seekers, those who have been forcibly displaced within their own country and stateless.
A dual national of Britain and Australia, Gillian has held a number of leadership roles, including as Director of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law in London, President of the Asian Development Bank Administrative Tribunal, Chair of the UN Independent Expert Panel of Inquiry into Abuse of Office and Harassment in UNAIDS, Dean of the Faculty of Law and Challis Professor (Emerita) of International Law at the University of Sydney, and Professorial Fellow of the University of Melbourne.
Before taking up her role with the United Nations, Gillian was the Chair of Justice Connect, which links 10,000 lawyers to provide pro bono advice to asylum-seekers and others needing legal support. She is also the author of many books and papers on international law, including ‘International Law: Contemporary Principles and Practice, (2nd ed. 2011) and Speaking Up (2018).
In July 2021 Gillian was awarded a Ruth Bader Ginsberg Inaugural Medal of Honour in recognition of her work for the rule of law and gender equality. In 2023, Gillian was given the “Prominent Woman in international Law” Award by the American Society of International Law.