UN chief Antonio Guterres has called on Myanmar to suspend military action in Rakhine state from where lakhs of Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh.
An estimated 380,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees have fled Myanmar and reached Bangladesh after a crackdown by Myanmar security forces in response to an attack on a military outpost by Rohingya militants on August 25.
“I call on the Myanmar authorities to suspend military action, end the violence, uphold the rule of law, and recognise the right of return of all those who had to leave the country,” UN Secretary-General Guterres told reporters at the UN headquarters in New York.
“I repeat my call for an effective action plan to address the root causes of the crisis. The Muslims of Rakhine state must be granted nationality or, at least for now, a legal status that allows them to lead a normal life, including freedom of movement and access to labour markets, education and health services,” he said.
At a news conference ahead of the annual UN General Assembly, Guterres also urged United Nations agencies, Non- Governmental Organisations and others to ensure the delivery of vital humanitarian aid to the refugees.
“The humanitarian situation is catastrophic…Women and children are arriving hungry and malnourished. I urge all countries to do what they can for humanitarian assistance to be provided,” Guterres said.
Guterres, who recently wrote an official letter to the Security Council to express his concern, welcomed the Council’s decision to discuss this crisis.
(With inputs from agencies)