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UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary General António Guterres on Wednesday reiterated his call for Muslims from Myanmar’s Rakhine state to be given legal status that would allow them to lead a normal life. “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,” the Secretary-General said in his first press conference following the opening of the 72nd session of the General Assembly.

In a UN Press statement Guterres repeated his call for “an effective action plan” to address the root causes of the situation, which he said had been left to fester for decades and has now escalated beyond Myanmar’s borders, destabilising the region. “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 and other NGOs.

Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2017