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Guterres appoints special envoy for Myanmar in refugee crisis

IANS  |  United Nations 

UN Antonio has appointed Christine Schraner Burgener, a Swiss with conflict resolution experience in Southeast Asia, as his for

Since Indian left the position of Secretary-General's on 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 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 to study the Rohingya crisis.

has been under pressure to appoint a and the even passed a resolution in December urging him make the appointment.

"led efforts to mediate between the two sides in the violence that erupted in in 2010" while she was the Swiss in Bangkok, Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson for said Thursday.

More than 80 people were killed in 2010 in during two months of confrontation between the military and the opposition demanding elections.

has a family connection to Myanmar: Her husband Christoph was Switzerland's to Myanmar while she was the in

A career diplomat, she is currently the Switzerland's envoy to and Dujarric said she will join the UN full-time.

The UN has had a contentious relationship with Myanmar, which has been criticised by the and the as well officials for its treatment of the Rohingya minority.

Over 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar's Rakhine state since August when attacks on security posts by the Arakan Rohingya was met with wholesale retribution by the 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."

The UN withdrew its resident in Myanmar, of Canada, in October amid allegations she did not give priority to human rights issues.

of was appointed to succeed her.

Nambiar, who was a member of the Indian Foreign Service, served as Ban's de cabinet before his appointment as the on Myanmar.

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First Published: Fri, April 27 2018. 07:52 IST