July 23, 2014 (NEW YORK) – The United Nations secretary-general, Ban Ki-Moon, on Wednesday announced the appointment of Ellen Margrethe Loj as the new head of its mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
- The new head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Ellen Margrethe Loj (Photo: UN/Staton Winter)
Denmark’s Loj replaces Hilde Johnson whose term expired early this month.
The UN secretary-general, however, said he was grateful for Johnson’s dedication and leadership at the helm of UNMISS since its inception in July 2011.
The spokesperson for the secretary generals said she had a “wealth of experience in peacekeeping and international affairs”, previously serving as special representative to the secretary general and head of the UN mission in Liberia from 2008-2012.
According to the world body, Loj also held various senior positions in her country’s foreign affairs ministry and served as Denmark’s permanent representative to the UN.
Loj, however, takes her new position at a time when South Sudan faces serious humanitarian crisis exacerbated by the seven-month old conflict that has killed thousands and displaced nearly 1.4 million people.
Also, nearly 100,000 civilians are seeking shelter at UN base across the country as violence continues in the nation, despite an agreed ceasefire between the two warring parties in the conflict.
In May, the UN Security Council extended UNMISS’s mandate for six months and revised its roles to give priority to the task of protecting civilians and to address the security, humanitarian and political crisis in the country.
Born in 1948 in Gedesby, Denmark, Loj holds a Masters degree in political science from Copenhagen University.