Kyaw Moe Tun to remain Myanmar’s UN rep

The diplomat was appointed by the democratically elected government months before the 2021 coup.
By Alex Willemyns and RFA Burmese
United Nations/Washington
Kyaw Moe Tun to remain Myanmar’s UN rep Myanmar's ambassador to the UN Kyaw Moe Tun makes a three-finger salute as he addresses an informal meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on Feb. 26, 2021 in New York.
AFP/United Nations via YouTube

Myanmar’s U.N. ambassador, Kyaw Moe Tun, who was appointed before the 2021 military coup, will remain in the post for another General Assembly session after the body’s credentials committee declined to meet, an official told Radio Free Asia on Thursday.

A key critic of the military junta that seized power in February 2021 from an elected civilian government, Kyaw Moe Tun’s role as permanent representative to the United Nations is subject to annual review, with the General Assembly’s nine-member credentials committee deciding who represents each country.

Both China and Russia, allies of the junta, currently sit on the committee, which was most recently appointed Sept. 5. The other seven committee members are Andorra, Grenada, Nigeria, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Togo and the United States.

However, Monica Grayley, spokesperson for the president of the General Assembly, said the committee had not met this year. 

“I can confirm that the credentials committee has not sat since the 5th of September, meaning since it was appointed,” Grayley told RFA. “The credentials that were before, are the credentials that will remain. Whoever sat last year will sit this year.”

Kyaw Moe Tun could not be reached for comment, but the National Unity Government, a shadow regime formed by lawmakers leaders of Myanmar’s ousted civilian government, said it was cautiously optimistic he would remain in the post.

NUG spokesperson Kyaw Zaw said the credentials committee might still hold a session on Myanmar’s U.N. seat “as a special case” in the coming months and issue a formal decision.

“Last year, the committee decided the case in November and the General Assembly ratified it in December,” Kyaw Zaw said. “We expect the final decision will come up at that time.”

“We believe he will be re-appointed for the post as the committee will hear the voice of the Myanmar people’s support for him.” 

Diplomatic battle

Kyaw Moe Tun’s status as Myanmar’s U.N. ambassador is a point of pain for the junta, which in September last year arrested 15 people protesting in favor of his role in New York, which was at the time indefinitely deferred by the credentials committee. 

Earlier this year, he was also the target of a violent attack plot.

The London-based Myanmar Accountability Project said the decision of the credentials committee not to meet – and therefore to keep Kyaw Moe Tun in his role – was a diplomatic victory for Myanmar’s shadow government in its fight against the junta. 

“The nine-member committee’s decision in favour of Myanmar’s National Unity Government (NUG) is all the more remarkable, as Russia and China, both close allies of the junta, are committee members,” it said in a statement. “We appeal to other organs of the U.N., such as the Human Rights Council and the International Criminal Court, to allow the NUG to represent Myanmar.”

The U.N. credential committees this year would have had a long agenda had it sat, due also to the July 26-28 coup in Niger and the Aug. 30 coup in Gabon. Niger had been scheduled to speak in the assembly on Thursday, but was skipped over for Dominica.

Myanmar is scheduled second-last during this year’s session, on Tuesday of next week. The country’s slot follows the Vatican, North Korea and Benin, and is followed only by Afghanistan.


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