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UN official who ‘stopped’ rights groups from visiting Rakhine earlier blamed for engineering 1/11 in Bangladesh

  • Published at 10:18 pm September 29th, 2017
  • Last updated at 11:45 pm September 29th, 2017
UN official who ‘stopped’ rights groups from visiting Rakhine earlier blamed for engineering 1/11 in Bangladesh
Former head of the United Nations in Myanmar, Canadian Renata Lok-Dessallien, had allegedly tried to stop human rights advocates from visiting sensitive Rohingya areas in Rakhine state, reported the BBC. Renata, during an earlier posting in Bangladesh as the Resident Coordinator, had been accused of engineering the January 11, 2007, political changeover, when an army-backed caretaker government took over power and declared a state of emergency. Led by former Bangladesh Bank Governor Fakhruddin Ahmed, the caretaker government stayed in power for nearly two years, until the January 2009 general elections, and arrested a number of high profile politicians and businessman during its tenure, including the current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Renata reportedly sent a letter to the then army chief Moeen U Ahmed threatening to stop Bangladesh’s participation in the UN peacekeeping missions, which prompted Moeen U Ahmed to march into the office of the president and self-appointed caretaker chief Iajuddin Ahmad, and compel him to proclaim a state of emergency. At the end of her tenure in Bangladesh, Renata however denied sending any such letter. On September 28, the BBC reported that a former UN official allegedly said the head of the UN in Myanmar tried to stop human rights advocates from visiting sensitive Rohingya areas. Sources from within the UN and the aid community both in Myanmar and outside talked to the BBC’s Jonah Fisher. They said the head of the United Nations Country Team (UNCT), Renata Lok-Dessallien: “tried to stop human rights activists travelling to Rohingya areas; attempted to shut down public advocacy on the subject; and isolated staff who tried to warn that ethnic cleansing might be on the way.” In June this year, Renata was removed from her position in Myanmar for “failure to prioritise human rights”, in particular for the Rohingya, a persecuted ethnic minority in Rakhine state, reported the Guardian. The UN in Myanmar “strongly disagreed” with the BBC findings, writes Fisher in his latest report.