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Martin Kobler (born in 1953) is a German career diplomat who was appointed Special Representative, Head of United Nations Support Mission in Libya (as of 4 November 2015). He also previously served as Special Representative for the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Head of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in June 2013. In this capacity, he heads more than 20,000 peacekeepers in the country.
Kobler served as United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative for Iraq and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) from October 2011 to July 2013. Prior to this appointment, Kobler was Deputy Special Representative (Political) for Afghanistan from 2010 to 2011.
The outcome of a major issue during his UNAMI activity, that is the protection of more than 3000 residents of Camp Ashraf, home of Iranian dissidents members of the People's Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI), a small city full of activity, against the deadly military attacks and displacement intents by Nouri al-Maliki's office of the Government of Iraq, has been strongly criticised by international parliamentary groups. In fact, Struan Stevenson, who had been high-level diplomatic player of the European Parliament involved therein, accused him of cowardice in front of the Iraqi government and gave him responsibility for the forced displacement of the residents to the even less safe, prison-like Camp Liberty. More in detail, his role has been described and criticized by Tahar Boumedra, former Chief of the Human Rights Office of UNAMI from 2009 to 2012, for following a subordinate appeasement policy in front of Nouri al-Maliki, while seriously offending the basic human rights via helping forcible eviction of protected people, and consequently leading most senior UNAMI staff to quit in protest, including himself.
A veteran in the German Foreign Service, Kobler had held several high-ranking positions, including as Director-General for Culture and Communication in Germany’s Foreign Office, and as Ambassador of Germany to Iraq and Egypt. His other posts include Chief of Cabinet to former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer from 2000 to 2003, Deputy Chief of Cabinet from 1998 to 2000, Deputy Head of the Foreign Ministry’s Balkan Task Force from 1997 to 1998. Prior to this, he was instrumental in implementing the German representation with the Palestinian Authority in Jericho. Additionally, he has acted as an Electoral Observer with the United Nations missions in Haiti, Nicaragua and Cambodia.
Kobler has an advanced law degree and is fluent in English, French, German, Indonesian and Arabic.
Kobler is married to fellow diplomat Brita Wagener and has three children.
- Malcolm Beith (December 9, 2014), Congo’s New Cabinet Favors President Kabila as Opposition Splits Bloomberg News.
- Stevenson, Struan (2015). Self-Sacrifice – Life with the Iranian Mojahedin, Chapter 29, ISBN 978 1 78027 288 7
- Tahar Boumedra (2013), The United Nations and Human Rights in Iraq. The Untold Story of Camp Ashraf, ISBN 978-1-909740-64-8, p.197-242
- "Secretary-General". United Nations. Secretary-General United Nations. Retrieved 25 July 2014.