Monday, June 17, 2013

U Thant ( Third Secretary General of United Nation )

U Thant was a Burmese Diplomat and served as the third Secretary General of the UN ( United Nation ) , from 1961 to 1971 . U Thant was born in Pantanaw , lower Burma , and was educated at the National High School in Patanaw and at Rangoon University , where he studied history . After University , U Thant returned to Patanaw to teach at the National High School and became its headmaster by the age of twenty-five . During this time he became close-friend with future prime minister U Nu , who was from neighbouring Ma-Au-Pin City and was the local super-intendant of schools . U Thant regulary contributed to several newspapers and magazines under the pen name " Thilawa " and translated a number of books , including one on the League of Nations .


When U Nu became the prime minister of the newly independent Burma, he asked Thant to join him in Rangoon and appointed him director of broadcasting in 1948. In the following year he was appointed secretary to the government of Burma in the Ministry of Information. From 1951 to 1957, Thant was secretary to the prime minister, writing speeches for U Nu, arranging his foreign travel, and meeting foreign visitors. During this entire period, he was U Nu's closest confidant and advisor.. He also took part in a number of international conferences and was the secretary of the first Asian–African summit in 1955 at Bandung, Indonesia, which gave birth to the Non-Aligned Movement. From 1957 to 1961, he was Burma's permanent representative to the United Nations and became actively involved in negotiations over Algerian independence. In 1961, the Burmese government awarded him the title Maha Thray Sithu as a commander in the order of Pyidaungsu Sithu.


U Thant began serving as acting Secretary-General from November 3, 1961, when he was unanimously appointed by the General Assembly, on the recommendation of the Security Council in Resolution 168, to fill the unexpired term of Dag Hammarskjöld. He was then unanimously appointed secretary-general by the General Assembly on November 30, 1962, for a term of office ending on November 3, 1966. During this first term he was widely credited for his role in defusing the Cuban Missile Crisis and for ending the civil war in the Congo. He also said that he wanted to ease tensions between major powers while serving at the UN.
In April 1964, Thant accepted the Holy See’s designation of itself as a permanent observer. There appeared to be no involvement of the General Assembly or the UN Security Council in the decision.He received the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding in 1965. U Thant was solving a lot of difficult satuations around the world when he serving as Secretary general of the United Nations.


U Thant died of lung cancer in New York on November 25, 1974. By that time, Burma was ruled by a military junta which refused him any honors. The then Burmese president Ne Win was envious of U Thant's international stature and the respect that was accorded him by the Burmese populace. Ne Win also resented U Thant's close links with the democratic government of U Nu which Ne Win had overthrown in a coup d'état on March 2, 1962. Ne Win ordered that U Thant be buried without any official involvement or ceremony. From the United Nations headquarters in New York where he was laid in state, U Thant's body was flown back to Rangoon, but no guard of honour or high-ranking officials were on hand at the airport when the coffin arrived except for U Aung Tun, deputy minister of education, who was subsequently dismissed from office. On the day of U Thant's funeral on December 5, 1974, tens of thousands of people lined the streets of Rangoon to pay their last respects. Thant's coffin was displayed at Rangoon's Kyaikasan race course for a few hours before the scheduled burial. The coffin of U Thant was then snatched by a group of students just before it was scheduled to leave for burial in an ordinary Rangoon cemetery. The student demonstrators buried U Thant on the former grounds of the Rangoon University Students Union (RUSU), which Ne Win had dynamited and destroyed on July 8, 1962. During the period of December 5–11, 1974, the student demonstrators also built a temporary mausoleum for U Thant on the grounds of the RUSU and gave anti-government speeches. In the early morning hours of December 11, 1974, government troops stormed the campus, killed some of the students guarding the makeshift mausoleum, removed U Thant's coffin, and reburied it at the foot of the Shwedagon Pagoda, where it has continued to lie. Upon hearing of the storming of the Rangoon University campus and the forcible removal of U Thant's coffin, many people rioted in the streets of Rangoon. Martial law was declared in Rangoon and the surrounding metropolitan areas. What has come to be known as the U Thant Crisis—the student-led protests over the shabby treatment of U Thant by the Ne Win government—was crushed by the Burmese government.

Ref : Wikipedia


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