Ahead of elections in Myanmar on 8 November, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has stated his hope that the vote would help advance “inclusive sustainable development” across the country.
Calling for a “peaceful orderly and credible” election process in a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Guterres also expressed his hope that they might lead to refugee returns “in safety and dignity”.
In August 2017, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fled a massive military operation targeting the mainly-Muslim minority, in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state, seeking sanctuary across the border in neighbouring Bangladesh.
Mr Guterres also noted with concern that armed conflict was ongoing “in many areas of Myanmar” with intensifying clashes in Rakhine and Chin states, continuing to take a heavy toll on vulnerable civilians.
Unimpeded humanitarian access for the United Nations and its partners remained crucial, Mr Guterres said, before renewing his appeal for a national ceasefire.
This would allow everyone to focus on combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN chief said.
“At this critical juncture for the people of Myanmar, the Secretary-General reaffirms the support of the United Nations in their pursuit of lives in dignity and peace.”