Subject: UN: Veteran UN humanitarian official to become head of mission in Timor-Leste

Veteran UN humanitarian official to become head of mission in Timor-Leste

2 December 2009 – Ameerah Haq of Bangladesh, a veteran United Nations official with wide experience in crisis areas ranging from Afghanistan to Sudan, is to become the top UN representative in Timor-Leste as the small South-East Asian country seeks to consolidate its halting path to stability after gaining independence from Indonesia seven years ago.

Ms. Haq, who most recently served as Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Deputy Special Representative for Sudan, and before that, as his Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan, serving as UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in both places, will succeed Atul Khare of India as head of the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (<http://unmit.unmissions.org/>UNMIT).

Mr. Ban has already <http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs//2009/sga1206.doc.htm>informed the Security Council of his intention to appoint Ms. Haq, spokesperson Marie Okabe said today. “Her broad management experience in supporting complex mission deployment activities is expected to greatly contribute to her new role at UNMIT,” she added.

In her new position, Ms. Haq will help Timor-Leste wean itself from UN police units that were boosted in 2006 after an eruption of violence attributed to differences between eastern and western regions, when 600 striking soldiers were fired and ensuing hostilities claimed dozens of lives and drove 155,000 people, or 15 per cent of the total population, from their homes.

In his final address to the Security Council in October, Mr. Khare warned that any drawdown of international security forces should proceed with caution, but he stressed that that President José Ramos-Horta and other leaders do not wish to be continually dependent on UN police units.

“The touchstone for success in Timor-Leste is not whether crises occur, but how future crises are met and resolved,” he said. Current UNMIT strength stands at nearly 1,552 police officers, 32 military personnel, over 1,200 international and local civilian staff and 196 UN Volunteers.

The UN presence in Timor-Leste began in 1999 when it conducted a “popular consultation” in which Timorese overwhelmingly voted for independence from Indonesia. Between 1,500 and 2,000 people were killed in ensuing clashes.

In his latest report in October, Mr. Ban warned that the underlying causes of the 2006 crisis, including rising levels of poverty, persistent unemployment, lack of effective land and property systems, and under-strength justice and security sectors, could still destabilize the country.

Prior to her Afghan and Sudanese appointments, Ms. Haq served as Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Director at the UN Development Programme (<http://www.undp.org/>UNDP) Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, Associate Director of the UN Development Group Office, and UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in both Malaysia and Laos.

Ms. Haq, who holds masters degrees in community organization and planning and in business administration from Columbia University and New York University respectively, started her UN career in 1976 as a UNDP junior professional officer in Jakarta, Indonesia, followed by a first mission in Afghanistan as UNDP Assistant Resident Representative.

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2 December 2009

Secretary-General SG/A/1206

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Biographical Note

Secretary-General Appoints Ameerah Haq of Bangladesh Special Representative for Timor-Leste

The Secretary-General has appointed Ameerah Haq of Bangladesh as his Special Representative for Timor-Leste and Head of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT). Ms. Haq succeeds Atul Khare of India. The Secretary-General is grateful to Mr. Khare for his dedicated service and excellent leadership of UNMIT over the past three years. Ms. Haq brings to the Mission extensive management and operational experience, particularly at the senior level. She most recently served as Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sudan as well as the United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan (2007-2009), and, before that, as Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, as well as the United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan (2004-2007). Her broad management experience in supporting complex mission deployment activities will greatly contribute to her new role at UNMIT. She was formerly the Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Director of the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery at United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Headquarters in New York. She served as the United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Malaysia from 1994 to 1997 and in the same capacity in Laos from 1991 to 1994. Ms. Haq worked in the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific at UNDP Headquarters in various capacities from 1980-1990, which included responsibilities for aid coordination mechanisms and as Desk Officer for Thailand, Myanmar and Bhutan. She also had an assignment with the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) from 1985 to 1987. She started her career in 1976 as a Junior Professional Officer in Jakarta, Indonesia and was transferred to Afghanistan as Assistant Resident Representative in 1978. Ms. Haq holds master’s degrees in community organization and planning and in business administration from Columbia University and New York University, respectively. She completed a Bachelor of Arts at Western College in Oxford, Ohio.


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