Myanmar gets new UN envoy from Singapore

FILES: Dr Noeleen Heyzer, executive Director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) speaks to Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni (R) at the Knesset or Israeli parliament complex 14 May 2007 in Jerusalem.

United Nations, United States | UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced on Monday that he had named Singaporean sociologist Noeleen Heyzer as the new special envoy to Myanmar.

She will replace Christine Schraner Burgener of Switzerland.

Heyzer, 73, has held multiple senior positions at the United Nations, in particular between 2007 and 2014 as the head of an economic and social commission for Asia and the Pacific. Between 2013 and 2015, she served as special advisor for East Timor. 

As part of her duties on the Economic and Social Commission, Heyzer worked closely with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as well as with Myanmar authorities on the development and reduction of poverty. 

Since the February 1 coup in Myanmar that put an end to a ten-year democratic period, the United Nations and ASEAN have unsuccessfully urged the military junta to relaunch a political dialogue and liberate civilian officials arrested during the putsch. 

Neither Burgener, who is leaving her UN duties after three and a half years to enter the Swiss government, nor Brunei's deputy foreign minister Erywan Yusof -- appointed ASEAN emissary in August -- has been able to go to Myanmar, where they hoped to meet with civilians such as former civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

© Agence France-Presse

Related Articles