Vincent Cochetel is the Director of the Bureau for Europe at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). There he focuses on the specific challenges of the region — 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. For 317 days, he was chained to a bed frame in a cellar and deprived of light. 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.