UN envoy for Myanmar Noeleen Heyzer to step down in June

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Noeleen Heyzer, the UN special envoy for conflict-torn Myanmar, will step down in June, the United Nations announced Wednesday.

She took office in October 2021 following the February military coup of the same year that overthrew the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi and led to widespread armed resistance.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Heyzer, a former UN under-secretary-general, will leave on June 12 at the end of her contract. His nearly 20 months in office represent less than half the time of his predecessor, Christine Schraner Burgener.

During his first trip to Myanmar last August, Heyzer met with the head of the army-installed government, General Min Aung Hlaing, and called on him to urgently end all violence, support a political path back to civilian rule and democracy, and to allow imprisoned Suu Kyi to return home and meet her.

But the military took no action, and in a grim assessment, Heyzer told the 193-member United Nations General Assembly on March 16 that the impact of the military takeover had been ” devastating”, with violence continuing “on an alarming scale”.

Widespread popular resistance to the brutal military crackdown shows no sign of abating across much of the country, Heyzer said, and with both sides determined to win by force “there is no prospect of a settlement.” negotiated”.

Dujarric said Secretary General Antonio Guterres was grateful to Heyzer “for his tireless efforts on behalf of peace and the people of Myanmar”. He said the secretary general will appoint a new special envoy.

Heyzer, a Singaporean, served from 1994 to 2007 as executive director of UNIFEM, one of the precursors to the United Nations umbrella organization for women known as UN Women. She was the first woman to serve as Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, from 2007 to 2014, a post which earned her the rank of Assistant Secretary-General.

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