March 18, 2018

Pope Francis ends Asia tour after meeting Rohingya

05 December 2017, 02:46 | Lena Norman

Francis meets with staff members and sick people at the Mother Teresa House clinic in Dhaka’s Tejgaon neighbourhood. — AFP

Francis meets with staff members and sick people at the Mother Teresa House clinic in Dhaka’s Tejgaon neighbourhood. — AFP

Francis did not use the word Rohingya in public while on the first leg of the trip in Burma.

He spent nearly an hour answering reporters' questions after his six-day trip to Myanmar and Bangladesh, but insisted that most of the questions be about the trip.

"When a people, a religion or a society turns into a "little world", they lose the best that they have and plunge into a self-righteous mentality of 'I am good and you are bad",' Francis said at the Notre Dame College, founded by Catholic priests. But he did not specifically mention the Rohingya, a Muslim minority from Rakhine state.

Pope Francis says he recalls so many "suffering" but "noble" faces from his just-ended trip to Myanmar and Bangladesh. "I dared to say everything I wanted to say".

"In the name of all those who persecute you, who have persecuted you, and those who have hurt you, above all in the indifference of the world, I ask you for forgiveness", the Pope said.

Despite his apparent sympathy toward Suu Kyi's tenuous position in dealing with the Burmese military, Francis said he made sure his true feelings were known in private, especially during his meeting Monday with the general, who is responsible for what the army says are "clearance operations" against Rohingya militants in Rakhine.

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.

Manchester United confirm the signing of France youth worldwide Aliou Traore
Arnau Puigmal, a midfielder, arrived from Espanyol and Ethan Galbraith from Northern Ireland after a series of trials at the club. Here's wishing Traore a bright future at Manchester United! Traore was able to join MU after being released by PSG last summer.

The two countries last month signed an agreement to begin repatriating refugees, but rights groups say they are concerned about plans to house them in camps away from their former homes - many of which have been destroyed.

"And there I got upset".

He had a few minutes with each of them, listening to their stories with the help of an interpreter, holding their hands and looking into their eyes. Francis said they deserved to hear something from him directly, and so he asked for a microphone and spoke from the heart. "In that moment I cried". "They were crying, too".

Pope Francis refused to give reporters details about his private meetings with government officials and military leaders in Burma, but insisted they were marked by "civilised dialogue" and he was able to make the points important to him.

Human rights groups have criticised Burma's de facto civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize victor who was under house arrest for a total of 15 years, for not taking a stand against the generals. Pope Francis responded that people must take into account the challenges that are part of Burma's transition from military rule to democracy. I never close the door....

In Bangladesh he addressed the issue head-on, meeting a group of Rohingya refugees from the squalid camps in southern Bangladesh in an emotional encounter in Dhaka.

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