UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday called on Myanmar authorities to suspend military action and end violence against the majority-Buddhist nation's Rohingya Muslims, saying the crisis was destabilizing the region.
Guterres told a news conference that the humani-tarian situation was "catastrophic" and called on all countries to supply aid. "I call on the Myanmar authorities to suspend military activities and violence and uphold the rule of law," the secretary general said in a press conference.
Asked if he agreed the Rohingya population was being ethnically cleansed, he replied: "When one-third of the Rohingya population has got to flee the country, can you find a better word to describe it?"
The crackdown by Myanmar's army, which followed attacks by Rohingya militants late last month, has prompted around 380,000 to flee across the border into neighboring Bangladesh. Guterres called for authorities "to assure the delivery of vital humanitarian aid," with thousands of Rohingya still crossing the border every day.
The 1.1-million strong Rohingya have suffered years of discrimination in Myanmar, where they are denied citizenship even though many have longstanding roots in the country.
But Guterres said that the Myanmar government should either grant the Rohingya nationality or legal status that would allow them to live a normal life.
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