RVISION September 6, 2017

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres yesterday called for the Muslims of Rakhine state to be given either nationality or legal status, and voiced concern about violence that has since late August forced nearly 125,000 people to flee and risk destabilizing the region.

“I have condemned the recent attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army. But now we are receiving constant reports of violence by Myanmar’s security forces, including indiscriminate attacks,” the Secretary-General told journalists in New York, expressing concern about the security, humanitarian and human rights situation in Rakhine. “This will only further increase radicalization.”

Mr. Guterres said that he has officially written to the Security Council to express his concern and to propose various steps to end the violence, adding that the grievances of Rohingya – the Muslims in the Rakhine state – “have festered for far too long and are becoming an undeniable factor in regional destabilization.”

He called on the international community to prevent further escalation and to seek a holistic solution, and urged the authorities in Myanmar to provide security and aid to those in need and safe access to life-saving aid.

“At the same time, it is no longer possible to delay an effective action plan to address the root causes of the crisis,” Mr. Guterres said. “It will be crucial to give the Muslims of Rakhine state either nationality or, at least for now, a legal status that will allow them to have a normal life, including freedom of movement and access to labour markets, education and health services.”

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