Deputy Director General, Head of Humanitarian Aid Department and Head of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA), Ambassador
Manuel Bessler, born in 1958 in Zurich, studied law at the University of Zurich and at Harvard Law School. After working as a lawyer in Zurich, he joined the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in 1991 and among other things worked as the legal advisor of the ICRC Delegation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, head of the ICRC Sub-Delegation in Jerusalem, liaison- and information delegate in Haiti, and head of the ICRC Mission in Chechnya and of the ICRC Delegation in Iraq.
In 1994, Manuel Bessler worked on the military desk of the Force Inspector General of the United Nations Protection Force in the former Yugoslavia (UNPROFOR). From 2000 – 2011, he worked in the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs of the United Nations (OCHA), initially in the Division for Humanitarian Policy in New York and later as head of the OCHA Office in Jerusalem. From April 2009 – 2011, he headed the OCHA Office in Pakistan.
In October 2011, Manuel Bessler took up the post of head of the Department of Humanitarian Aid within the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.