Since Indian diplomat Vijay Nambiar left the position of Secretary-General's special adviser on Myanmar at the end of 2016 when Ban ki-Moon completed his term as UN head, the world body has not had a top-level pointsperson on Myanmar even as India's neighbour spiralled into a deepening ethnic conflict spawning a refugee crisis.
Burgener's appointment was announced Thursday by Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson for Guterres, on the eve of the Security Council's visit to Myanmar and Bangladesh to study the Rohingya crisis.
Burgener "led efforts to mediate between the two sides in the violence that erupted in Thailand in 2010" while she was the Swiss ambassador in Bangkok, Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson for Guterres said Thursday.
More than 80 people were killed in 2010 in Thailand during two months of confrontation between the military and the opposition demanding elections.
A career diplomat, she is currently the Switzerland's envoy to Germany and Dujarric said she will join the UN full-time.
Over 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar's Rakhine state since August when attacks on security posts by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army was met with wholesale retribution by the Myanmar military and civilian vigilantes.
Guterres has likened the conditions that led to the exodus of the Rohingyas to ethnic cleansing.
In January, Myanmar blocked UN Special Rapporteur Yanghee Lee from visiting the country to study the state of human rights.
Asked about getting the military dominated government there to agree to Burgener's appointment, Dujarric said, "The authorities in Myanmar were consulted, as others in the region were."
(Arul Louis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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