UN Rejects Reports of Myanmar Coordinator’s Removal

By The Irrawaddy 23 June 2017

YANGON — The UN labeled media reports on UN Resident Coordinator Renata Lok-Dessallien’s removal from her post as “false and inaccurate,” in a statement released Wednesday, as UN officials confirmed the search for her replacement.

The BBC reported last Tuesday that internal documents prepared for the new UN Secretary General described the Myanmar office as “glaringly dysfunctional” with “strong tensions” between different parts of the UN system and suggested Lok-Dessallien was being moved on for failing to prioritize human rights.

Wednesday’s statement, however, said Lok-Dessallien’s “performance has been constantly appreciated” and that she will continue in the position “until further notice.”

UN information officer U Aye Win told The Irrawaddy on Friday that Lok-Dessallien “remains in the post at the moment.”

“A successor has not yet been named,” said U Aye Win, adding she would not be leaving “immediately.”

U Aye Win told The Irrawaddy last week the position had been advertised, though he refused to comment on the reason behind Lok-Dessallien’s departure.

Lok-Dessallien had been criticized for not doing enough regarding human rights abuses in Myanmar. She is three and a half years into the usual five-year tenure as a coordinator.

In November last year she blocked journalists from recording a press conference held after the UN and foreign ambassadors visited Rakhine State amid accusations of human rights abuses by government security forces.

The Canadian citizen began the job in January 2014 and was the first woman to take up the role. She previously worked as resident and humanitarian coordinator in Bhutan, Bangladesh, and China.