Pope Francis has avoided referring to Myanmar’s persecuted Muslim minority by name in a major speech after meeting the country’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.
Pope Francis avoids mention of Rohingya in Myanmar speech
The leader of the world’s Roman Catholics urged reconciliation and « respect for each ethnic group and identity, » but did not specifically mention the Rohingya and their plight.
Standing alongside Suu Kyi, Francis spoke mostly in general terms. The highly-anticipated remarks will likely please his hosts but may draw condemnation from human rights activists, who blame the Myanmar army for driving out hundreds of thousands of Rohingya from the country.
Francis did not specifically address allegations of ethnic cleansing but said religion has an important role to play in solving the crisis.
« The arduous process of peace-building and national reconciliation can only advance through a commitment to justice and respect for human rights, » he said, according to a translation provided by the Vatican.
Suu Kyi also spoke in mostly in generalities, though she mentioned the location of the crisis by name.
« As we address long standing issues, social, economic and political, that have eroded trust and understanding, harmony and cooperation, between different communities in Rakhine, the support of our people and of good friends who only wish to see us succeed in our endeavors has been invaluable, » she said.(CNN)