UN appoints Knut Ostby interim resident coordinator for Myanmar

Knut Ostby. Photo: UN / Timor Leste
Knut Ostby. Photo: UN / Timor Leste

The UN has appointed an interim resident coordinator for Myanmar to replace Renata Lok-Dessallien, who according to several sources has been removed from the position early as a result of her failure to prioritize human rights in the country.

Knut Ostby of Norway is slated to temporarily take over the position on November 1, as tensions between the UN and Myanmar simmer. The government has refused to allow a UN fact finding mission to investigate allegations of atrocities committed by security forces around the country, and it also blocked an upgrade of the top UN position in the country to assistant secretary general.

State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi has privately told diplomats that she is frustrated with the UN, particularly its human rights arm, Reuters has reported.

Otsby has previously served as resident coordinator in Timor Leste, and before that in Iran, Fiji, and several other Pacific countries.

The UN has been urging Myanmar for weeks to end its military campaign against the Rohingya in northern Rakhine State, to give aid workers access to the area, and to allow Rohingya refugees to return to Myanmar from Bangladesh.

France and the UK have submitted to the UN Security Council a draft resolution outlining these demands and calling for the appointment of a special advisor on Myanmar.

However, China has been using its role in the Security Council to block action against the Myanmar government and military.

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