New UN deputy special envoy Ratwatte begins tenure in Kabul

Indrika Ratwatte of Sri Lanka has assumed his role as the Deputy Special Representative of United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres in Afghanistan, according to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

Ratwatte, who arrived in Kabul on Jan. 10, 2024, will also serve as the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator. He was appointed to the post in November 2023.

With over 30 years of experience in humanitarian affairs and protection in complex crisis settings, Ratwatte’s expertise includes more than 14 years focused on Afghanistan and regional issues. He started his United Nations career in 1992 with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and joined the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 1993.

His recent roles encompass Director of UNHCR’s Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific and UNHCR’s Representative in Pakistan. He has served in various capacities, including Deputy Representative in Tanzania and Pakistan, and had assignments in Thailand, Croatia, China, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Ratwatte holds a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University in the United States and a bachelor’s degree in English and sociology from the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Additionally, he is an attorney-at-law from Sri Lanka Law College.