Health Care

Pope Francis defends public silence on Rohingya after Myanmar trip

Pope Francis defends public silence on Rohingya after Myanmar trip

Days earlier during a visit to Myanmar, the Pope had defended his decision of avoid using the term Rohingya, saying he believed it was the best way to get his message across to both the civilian and military leadership without shutting down dialogue.

Francis said he chose instead to speak in general terms about human rights in public so that he could engage more frankly in private about what the United Nations has said is a textbook campaign of ethnic cleansing against Myanmar's Muslim minority. It was the chief of Myanmar's powerful military Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing, who has been internationally accused of his army's human rights abuses against the minority Rohingya Muslims.

He said: "It's true I didn't have the pleasure of slamming the door in their face publicly with a denunciation". "But I had the satisfaction of dialogue, and letting the other side dialogue, and in this way the message arrived".

This photo combo of two images show Pope John Paul II riding in a three-wheeled bicycle rickshaw at the Vatican Mission in Dhaka, Bangladesh, during his one-day visit to the city, on November 19, 1986, on left and Pope Francis riding a traditional Bangladesh rickshaw as he arrives at an interfaith and ecumenical meeting for peace in the garden of the archbishop's residence, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Friday, Dec. 1, 2017.

Still, finally being able to meet some of the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh was an emotional moment.

Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali saw the top Catholic priest off at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka as he left for Rome at 5:10pm by a flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines. But he said it was hard to judge what is possible in a country undergoing a political transition after decades of military dictatorship.

Top UN Official to Visit N.Korea This Week
North Korea regularly cites military drills around the peninsula as justification for its nuclear and missile-testing program. North Korea has dubbed it the largest-ever such drill, though the US said it is similar in size to previous exercises.

Burma is at a "turning point" where it will be hard to move forward, he said, but it also would be hard to back away from change.

"So the possibilities have to be evaluated through this optic", he said.

The Senior General's Facebook post about the meeting said the Snr-Gen explained to the Pope that there was no religious discrimination in Myanmar as the country ensures religious freedom.

"It was a good meeting", he added. "I couldn't say because it was private but I didn't negotiate the truth", he said, according to a transcript of the press conference. "Civilized. And even there, the message arrived".

Pope Francis prays with Rohingya refugees during an interfaith peace meeting in the garden of the Archbishop of Dhaka's residence in Bangladesh's capital on Friday. He also sought their forgiveness in the name of all who persecuted them. So he asked for a microphone and spoke about their God-given dignity and the obligation believers of all faiths have to stand up for them as brothers and sisters. "I tried not to show it". "They were crying, too".


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