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Veteran UN official named to new post overseeing measures to protect UN staff

Veteran UN official named to new post overseeing measures to protect UN staff

In a continuing effort to bolster the safety of United Nations personnel serving in trouble spots around the world, Secretary-General Kofi Annan has appointed a veteran UN official with extensive experience in humanitarian and logistical work to a newly established post of UN Security Coordinator, a UN spokesman announced today.

Tun Myat, a national of Myanmar, was designated the new UN Security Coordinator, a full-time post at the level of Assistant Secretary-General set up late last year by the General Assembly on Secretary-General’s request.

Last October, the Secretary-General released a report citing stark statistics on the “unabated” violence confronting UN personnel. Since 1992, 201 staff members lost their lives in the line of duty as a result of malicious acts, according to the report. Since 1994, 255 others were the victims of hostage taking.

UN personnel “have also continued to be targets of rape and sexual assault, ambushes, armed robbery, attacks on humanitarian convoys, carjackings, harassment, and arrest and detention,” the Secretary-General wrote in recommending the creation of a full-time position to coordinate security.

Mr. Myat has served as the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq since April 2000, and as the senior UN official resident in the country was also the United Nations Designated Official for Security. Prior to that, he spent over two decades with the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP). Until now, security coordination was one of the many responsibilities performed by Benon Sevan, the Executive Director of the Office of the Iraq Programme.