Norwegian becomes leader of UN work in Myanmar

Rohingya refugeeRohingya refugee collect water from a tube well as local bangladeshis dig a hole to build another tube well, behind, in Kutupalong extension camp, in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, Sunday, Oct. 29 2017. More than 600,000 Rohingya from northern Rakhine have fled to Bangladesh since Aug. 25, when Myanmar security forces began a scorched-earth campaign against Rohingya villages. Myanmar's government has said it was responding to attacks on police outposts by insurgents, but the United Nations and others have said the response was disproportionate. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

Norwegian Knut Østby has been appointed interim director for UN’s work in Myanmar, which have received strong international criticism for their treatment of the Rohingya minority.

Østby was appointed on Tuesday, reports the news agency Reuters. He takes over from the Canadian Renata Lok Dessallien, which will return to the United Nations headquarters in New York.

Lok-Dessallien has been criticized for her handling of the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar. She is accused, among other things, of holding back a report on UN’s work in the country.

Over half a million Rohingya Muslims have fled from the Myanmar state of Rakhine to neighbouring Bangladesh. UN investigators have established that Myanmar security forces are behind coordinated and systematic attacks on the minority group.

Østby has previously worked for the UN in a number of difficult areas. He comes from the position as Deputy Representative of the UN in East Timor, reports NRK.

Myanmar has prevented the appointment of a new permanent head of the UN work in the country, according to Reuters.

Also, Myanmar’s Governor, Nobel Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, has received massive international criticism after the massacre of Rakhine began in August. Myanmar authorities claim they have initiated a military campaign aimed at an Islamic terrorist group – not against the entire Rohingya population.


©  NTB Scanpix / Norway Today