The United Nations says its top official in Myanmar is being changed, with sources citing her failure to protect the rights of the oppressed Rohingya Muslims as the reason behind the decision.
Diplomatic and aid community sources in Myanmar’s Yangon city told the BBC that the departure of Renata Lok-Dessallien, the UN resident and humanitarian coordinator in Myanmar, was linked to her failure to prioritize human rights, particularly those of the persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority.
Meanwhile, a UN spokeswoman confirmed that the Canadian official, Lok-Dessallien, was being “rotated,” dismissing that the decision is connected to her performance, which she said had been “consistently appreciated.”
BBC cited an internal UN document as saying that the UN team in Myanmar had become “glaringly dysfunctional.”
The document prepared for the new UN secretary general also said there are “strong tensions” among different parts of the UN system.
Buddhist-dominated Myanmar has a history of discrimination against the country’s Rohingya Muslims.
Nearly 75,000 people have fled from the Muslim-majority northern part of Rakhine to Bangladesh since Myanmar’s military launched a crackdown there in October 2016, a UN report said.
The crackdown was launched after deadly attack on the country’s border guards on October 9 left nine policemen dead. The government blamed the Rohingyas for the assault.
There have been numerous accounts by eyewitnesses of summary executions, rapes and arson attacks against Muslims since the crackdown began. The military has blocked access to Rakhine and banned journalists and aid workers from entering the zone.
Back then, Lok-Dessallien and her team was strangely silent, declining simple requests for information.
She reportedly visited the conflict area on one occasion, but on her return refused to allow reporters to film or record her words at a news conference.
Lok-Dessallien is currently on leave, but has been told that her position is being upgraded, according to the report.