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The first and only woman to serve as the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Sadako Ogata has died

Sadako Ogata, a former top United Nations official who was the first and only woman to serve as the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and became known for donning a helmet and flak jacket on trips into the field, has died at the age of 92.

Japanese government officials said Ogata died on October 22 but they only announced her death on Tuesday. They did not give the cause of her death. Her tenure as U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees during the 1990s coincided with genocide in Rwanda and ethnic conflict in the former Yugoslavia.

“She stood on the front lines of humanitarian issues such as poverty, refugees and conflicts, where she demonstrated outstanding leadership. Her thinking, such as guaranteeing human security and emphasizing work in the field, is even now the basis for humanitarian aid efforts both in Japan and overseas” chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference.


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