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UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres calls on Myanmar to end violence, urges aid

The secretary-general also said he has spoken to Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's national leader, several times. "This is a dramatic tragedy. People are dying and suffering at horrible numbers and we need to stop it. That is my main concern," he said.

By: Reuters | United Nations | Published: September 13, 2017 11:07 pm
UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, Rohingya crisis, Rohingya, Refugee crisis, ethnic cleansing, Myanmar, World news, Indian Express UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. (Source: Reuters)

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday called on authorities in Myanmar to end violence against the majority-Buddhist country’s Rohingya Muslims and acknowledged the situation there is best described as ethnic cleansing. The humanitarian situation in Myanmar was “catastrophic,” Guterres said, and called on all countries to do what they could to supply aid.

“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,” Guterres said at a news conference.

Pressure has been mounting on Myanmar to end violence that has sent about 370,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh, with the United States calling for protection of civilians and Bangladesh urging safe zones to enable refugees to go home. Asked if the situation could be described as ethnic cleansing, Guterres replied: “Well I would answer your question with another question: When one-third of the Rohingya population had to flee the country, could you find a better word to describe it?”

The secretary-general also said he has spoken to Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s national leader, several times. “This is a dramatic tragedy. People are dying and suffering at horrible numbers and we need to stop it. That is my main concern,” he said. Suu Kyi canceled a trip to the upcoming U.N. General Assembly to deal with the crisis, her office said on Wednesday.

The U.N. Security Council is to meet on Wednesday behind closed doors for the second time since the crisis erupted. British U.N. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said he hoped there would be a public statement agreed by the council. The government of Myanmar, also known as Burma, says its security forces are fighting Rohingya militants behind a surge of violence in Rakhine state that began on Aug. 25, and they are doing all they can to avoid harming civilians.

The government says about 400 people have been killed in the fighting, the latest in the western state. The U.N.’s top human rights official earlier this week denounced Myanmar for conducting a “cruel military operation” against the Rohingya, branding it “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

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  1. R
    Ravishankar
    Sep 14, 2017 at 9:47 am
    UN is an impotent organization that only renders lip service to counter terrorism but waxes eloquent about giving sanctuary, asylum relief to shadowy groups with links to terrorists. Mostly likely that UN will get sidelined and become irrelevant in the future as nations take action to protect their national interests
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    1. Zen Bhatia
      Sep 14, 2017 at 5:46 am
      The live genocide and mini Holocaust is currently going on since last 2 months and the civilized world including the custodians of the humanity, the west and USA are doing nothing except shedding crocodile tears. The closest powerful neighbor, India has already closed her eyes and ears, only because the sufferers are Muslims not Hindus, the Arab nations have no time to look at the poor and stateless and face less Rohinguas Muslims, because they themselves are killings Muslims in several parts of the world to gain more power, and the last Israel, who is crying day and nights to force the world to remember their Holocaust, and chant with them never again are helping the Junta and the monks providing military hardware and know how to quickly complete the ethnic cleaning. Above all the Nobel Peace Prize winner lady is in no hurry to stop this Genocide.
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      1. G
        Gomathi Raghavan
        Sep 14, 2017 at 1:26 am
        There is large scale violation of human rights and dignity by central bjp. it is midnight 1 o'cloc and I'm awec because there is chanting in the form of acostics I hav switched off fan. torture bioterrorism nefarious activities supers ion are features of central bjp central bjp rule has lost legitimacy to continue in power. continuance of central bjp is untenable. Delhi students union both DUSU JNU hav rejected central bjp
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        Adda