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Rohingyas facing catastrophic situation: UN chief

Guterres calls on Myanmar to end military action, violence

13 Sep 2017, 22:57 | updated: 13 Sep 2017, 23:04

Reuters
File photo: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres attends a news conference at UN-run school in the northern Gaza Strip August 30, 2017. Photo: Reuters

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Wednesday reiterated his call for Muslims from Myanmar's Rakhine state to be granted nationality or at least a legal status that would allow them to lead a normal life, while also urging the international community to help provide assistance for the nearly 380,000 people who have fled into Bangladesh.

In his first press conference since the opening of the 72nd General Assembly Session, the Secretary-General is also discussing his priorities for next week’s high-level debate.

‘I call on the Myanmar authorities to suspend military action, end the violence, uphold the rule of law, and recognize the right of return of all those who had to leave the country,’ the Secretary-General said in his first press conference since the opening of the 72nd session of the General Assembly.

Guterres repeated his call for ‘an effective action plan’ to address the root causes of the situation, which he said he been left to fester for decades and has now escalated beyond Myanmar's borders, destabilizing the region.

The Security Council is due to discuss the situation this afternoon in an urgent closed-door meeting, following an official letter from the Secretary-General expressing his concern.

‘The humanitarian situation is catastrophic,’ he said, noting that people are arriving hungry and malnourished and finding shelter in makeshift settlements or with host communities.

‘I urge all countries to do what they can for humanitarian assistance to be provided,’ Guterres said. He also called on Myanmar authorities to ensure delivery of aid by UN agencies, non-governmental organizations and others.

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