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Saturday, December 03 2022

Guterres hopes Myanmar polls would help ‘inclusive sustainable development’

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United Nations: Ahead of the Myanmar general elections slated to take place on Sunday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed hope that the polls 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 on Friday, Guterres hoped the vote might lead to refugee returns “in safety and dignity”, UN News reported.

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.

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 US and its partners remained crucial, 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 US in their pursuit of lives in dignity and peace,” the statement added.

Sunday’s vote will elect members to both the upper house (the House of Nationalities) and the lower house (the House of Representatives) of the Assembly of the Union, as well as State and Regional Hluttaws (legislatures).

A total of 1,171 national, state and regional seats will be contested.

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