Myanmar Junta Shutters UN Special Envoy’s Office

By The Irrawaddy 21 December 2021

Myanmar’s military regime has shut down the office of the United Nation’s (UN) Special Envoy for the country, reasoning that the term of the envoy, Christine Schraner Burgener, is over.

The junta did not offer any further elaboration about the closure of the office in the Myanmar capital Naypyitaw in their statement released Monday.

Although Swiss diplomat Mrs Burgener’s term ended in October, the mission is ongoing as in the same month UN Secretary-General António Guterres appointed another diplomat, Noeleen Heyzer, to be the successor to Mrs Burgener.

The position of UN Special Envoy was first created in 2018 mainly to tackle the Rohingya crisis in western Myanmar’s Rakhine State, in partnership with the then National League for Democracy government. The envoy’s office in Naypyitaw was opened in December of the same year.

Since the junta’s coup in February, the relationship between the regime and the UN has been bumpy. The world body condemned the military takeover, demanding the release of detained democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and others arrested. The UN has also delayed a decision on the regime’s request to replace the Myanmar Ambassador to the UN with someone loyal to them, after the current ambassador openly denounced the junta at the UN.

Last week, the regime’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs categorically rejected the adoption of a UN resolution on the “Situation of Human Rights of Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar” at the Third Committee of the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly.

“As the modalities of formulating the resolutions and organizing the dialogues are fundamentally flawed, it is unacceptable to see that the said resolution against Myanmar is full of distorted and erroneous elements including the term ‘Rohingya’ which has never existed in any legal and historical context of Myanmar and has never been recognized by the people of Myanmar,” said the junta.

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