UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres announced on Monday that he had named Singaporean sociologist Noeleen Heyzer as the new special envoy to Myanmar.
She will replace Christine Schraner Burgener of Switzerland.
Heyzer, 73, has held multiple senior positions at the UN, in particular between 2007 and 2014 as the head of an economic and social commission for Asia and the Pacific. Between 2013 and 2015, she served as special advisor for East Timor.
As part of her duties on the Economic and Social Commission, Heyzer worked closely with Asean, as well as with Myanmar authorities on the development and reduction of poverty.
Since the Feb 1 coup in Myanmar that put an end to a ten-year democratic period, the UN and Asean have unsuccessfully urged the military junta to relaunch a political dialogue and liberate civilian officials arrested during the putsch.
Neither Burgener, who is leaving her UN duties after three and a half years to enter the Swiss government, nor Brunei’s deputy foreign minister Erywan Yusof – appointed Asean emissary in August – has been able to go to Myanmar, where they hoped to meet with civilians such as former civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.