New UNHCR Head for Zambia assumes Office

Ms Laura Lo Castro presenting her credentials to the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Effron Lungu at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Headquarters today.Picture, courtesy of UNHCR Zambia

Ms Laura Lo Castro presenting her credentials to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Effron Lungu at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Headquarters today. Picture, courtesy of UNHCR Zambia

Newly-appointed UNHCR Representative for Zambia, Ms. Laura Lo Castro, has assumed official duties after presenting her credentials in Lusaka today to Honourable Effron Lungu, Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Ms. Lo Castro, an Italian national, prior to her appointment to Zambia served as Chief of the Programme Analysis and Support Section, Division of Programme Support and Management at UNHCR’s Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

She has also held several other senior positions within UNHCR in Geneva, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Rwanda.

During her stewardship of UNHCR in Zambia and in fulfilling UNHCR’s mandate of protecting  and finding durable solutions for refugees, Ms. Lo Castro looks forward to a sustained and effective working relationship with the Government of Zambia, members of the diplomatic community, UN Agencies, non-governmental organisations and all other major stakeholders and interlocutors in the refugee programme in Zambia.

Ms. Lo Castro takes over from Ms. Joyce Mends-Cole, who completed her assignment and has taken up her new functions as UNHCR’s Representative to the Republic of Tanzania.

Zambia currently hosts some 51,000 refugees and others of concern, mostly from Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia and Uganda. The vast majority reside in two refugee settlements – Mayukwayuka in Western Province and Meheba in North Western Province, while others live in urban areas or are self-settled in various locations.