UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appointed Christine Schraner Burgener of Switzerland as his new special envoy on Myanmar. Until her appointment, Burgener was the Ambassador of Switzerland to the Germany since 2015. Burgener has over 25 years of experience in diplomacy having served in various high-level government positions in the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.
From 2009 to 2015, she served as Ambassador to Thailand and led efforts to mediate between the two sides in the violence that erupted in Thailand in 2010. Burgener has also served as Deputy Director of the Directorate of International Law, with rank of Ambassador, and Head of the Inte rnational Law, Human Rights, and International Humanitarian Law Division in the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs from 2004 to 2009. Previously, veteran Indian diplomat Vijay Nambiar had served as the special adviser to the secretary-general on Myanmar, under Ban Ki-moon’s tenure.
The announcement of Burgener’s appointment comes as the Security Council sends a mission to Iraq, Bangladesh, and Myanmar from April 26 to May 2. Peru, President of the Security Council for the month of April, Kuwait, and the United States of America will co-lead the visit to Iraq. Peru, Kuwait and the United Kingdom will co-lead the visit to Bangladesh and Myanmar.
Guterres’ spokesman Stephane Dujarric had told reporters that the UN hopes the visits will help “refocus the attention of the international community on the plight of the Rohingya refugees who have fled to Bangladesh and the continuous need to fund the humanitarian operations.”
Since August 2017, nearly 700,000 minority Muslim Rohingyas have fled violence in Myanmar across the border into Bangaldesh’s Cox’s Bazar, joining several hundred thousand more that were already settled there in overcrowded camps. Guterres has said about 150,000 Rohingya refugees, who fled from Myanmar into crowded camps in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar are living in flood-prone areas and must be relocated ahead of the coming rainy season. (PTI)