Rohingya refugees – Pope appeals for international help

Pope Francis wants the international community to take “decisive measures” to resolve the problems causing hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims to flee Myanmar.

He also says it is “imperative” for world governments to immediately provide assistance to help the Bangladeshi government cope with Asia’s worst refugee crisis in decades.

Bangladesh has opened its borders to the refugees.

The United Nations is calling the situation the Rohingya are enduring a textbook case of “ethnic cleansing.”

Francis used the opportunity his trip provided to appeal to Myanmar’s Buddhist leaders to overcome “prejudice and hatred”.

Later in his trip, in a speech before Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid, government officials and ambassadors from around the world, Francis praised Bangladesh’s sacrifice and generosity in welcoming in so many refugees “before the eyes of the whole world.”

He also met with 18 Rohingya people who are seeking refuge in Bangladesh.

He said the refugees wept as they told him their stories.

“In the name of all those who have persecuted you, who have harmed you, in the face of the world’s indifference, I ask for your forgiveness,” he told them.

He explained to journalists on his home-bound plane journey that he knew that he was going to meet the Rohingya while he was visiting Myanmar and Bangladesh, but he didn’t know where and how.

Nonetheless, meeting the Rohingya was one of his conditions for making the trip, he told them.


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