Grandson of United Nations Secretary-General U Thant, Dr. Thant Myint-U spent a year on the Burmese-Thai border assisting Burmese refugees before he continued his work on Burmese issues with the Human Rights Watch and the United States Committee for Refugees in Washington, DC. In 1992, Dr. Myint-U started with the United Nations as a Human Rights Officer in the United Nations Transitional Authority for Cambodia (UNTAC). In 1994, he became the spokesman for the United Nations Protection Force in former Yugoslavia, and in 1996, became a Political Officer in the Office of the United Nations Special Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina. After a few years of teaching and receiving his doctorate, Dr. Myint-U joined the Secretariat in 2000 as policy analyst in the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). In 2004, he transferred to the United Nations Department of Political Affairs (UNDPA) to become the head of the Policy Planning Unit. From 2005 to 2006, he was a Senior Officer in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General working on reform issues.
UNTAC established its headquarters in Phnom Penh in February 1992 under Security Council Resolution 745 (S/RES/745(1992)) to restore peace and civil government in war torn Cambodia. As part of the division in charge of promoting and safeguarding human rights, Dr. Myint-U shares his experiences in this interview, conducted on 1 July 1998. He discusses the system of promoting human rights in that environment, his evaluation of the success of the peacekeeping mission and its lasting effects, and how UNTAC has affected future United Nations missions.