UN picks new Myanmar coordinator as tensions simmer

- Reuters, YANGON

Nov 1, 2017-

The United Nations named a new interim UN resident coordinator for Myanmar on Tuesday, appointing Knut Ostby of Norway to take over the humanitarian role at a time of growing strains with the Myanmar government over the handling of the Rohingya crisis.

The appointment of a temporary placeholder was expected after Myanmar blocked an upgrade of the UN country chief position.

Myanmar’s de facto leader, Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, has told diplomats in private meetings that she is frustrated with the United Nations, particularly its human rights arm.

Ostby, who has served with the United Nations in a number of hotspots, including Afghanistan and East Timor, will replace Renata Lok-Dessallien, who has completed her term.

Some 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh after ethnic violence erupted in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state in late August. Rights monitors and Rohingya refugees say the army and Rakhine Buddhist vigilantes have forced them to flee their homes.

UN investigators interviewing Rohingyas living in refugee camps near Cox’s Bazar said on Friday they had gathered testimony pointing to a “consistent, methodical pattern” of killings, torture, rape and arson.

Published: 01-11-2017 11:26

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