The Pope calls for respect for all ethnic groups, but avoids mentioning the Rohingya
The Pontiff opted for the conciliatory path during his first official visit to Myanmar and did not denounce the persecution of the Muslim Rohingya community in the country.
Murders and mass rapes, burning of villages and crops, more than 600,000 people exiled in Bangladesh. This would be a brief summary of the humanitarian crisis suffered by the Rohingya population, a Muslim ethnic community from Myanmar, as a result of the persecution they suffer from the military forces of their country.
Pope Francis, who on Monday began his first official visit to this Buddhish majority Southeast Asian country, is aware of his situation. In recent months he has criticized the persecution of the rohingyas, calling for interreligious peace in Myanmar, the former Burma. His most progressive followers expected the pope to dare to criticize the Burmese government during his visit to the country, but finally the top leader of the Catholic Church has opted for the diplomatic channel and has not directly mentioned the Rohingyas, as requested the local religious authorities.
After meeting with the civil authorities in the country's capital, Naypyidaw, the Pope gave a moderate speech, in which he called for "commitment to justice" and "a respect for human rights", but did not directly address the crisis of the Rohingya.
Among those who asked the Pope not to cite the Rohingyas directly were the Archbishop of Rangoon ( the former Myanmar capital), Charles Maung Bo, fearing that the words of the Pope could "soothe the spirits of the most radical Buddhists," newspaper La Vanguardia reports.
During his stay in Myanmar, the Pope was able to meet with state leader Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former political prisoner of the Burmese military dictatorship. Aung San Suu Kyi has been one of the most criticized figures for her lack of firm action to stop the atrocities against the Rohingyas.
"Religious differences should not be a source of division and distrust, but rather an impulse for unity, forgiveness, tolerance and a wise construction of the nation," the Pope said, noting later that religions can serve to build "dialogue bridges".
The Pope will travel today to Bangladesh, where more than 600,000 Rohingya live on precarious conditions on the border with Myanmar.