A young Rohingya refugee carries a child Oct. 10 while walking in a camp near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. Pope Francis, who will visit Bangladesh Nov. 30-Dec. 2, has appealed for their protection of the Rohingya on several occasions, calling them "our brothers and sisters." CNS photo/Damir Sagolj, Reuters

Pope to press inter-religious respect in Myanmar

  • October 12, 2017
Amid international condemnation of Myanmar’s treatment of the Rohingya people, Pope Francis will visit Myanmar and Bangladesh to recognize each nation’s struggle for independence, promote interreligious respect and encourage the minority Catholic communities.

The Pope will visit Myanmar Nov. 27-30, just months after the Holy See announced it had established full diplomatic relations with the southeast Asian nation. He will meet with Aung San Suu Kyi, the country’s de facto leader and 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner, and other government authorities. The visit comes as serious questions have been raised about her government’s treatment of the Rohingya people, who are Muslim.

Pope Francis has appealed for their protection on several occasions, calling the Rohingya, “good people” Aung San Suu Kyi who “are our brothers and

sisters. They have been suffering for years. They have been tortured, killed, just because they want to keep their traditions and their Muslim faith.”

Another highlight on the trip — the Pope’s 21st trip abroad in his five-year pontificate — will be meeting with high-ranking Buddhist monks at the capital’s peace pagoda.

According to the Vatican’s latest statistics, Myanmar has about 659,000 Catholics out of a population of about 51 million.

The Pope will visit the capital of Bangladesh Nov. 30 - Dec. 2; he will ordain new priests and visit a Missionaries of Charity centre for assisting poor children.

According to Vatican statistics, there are about 375,000 Catholics in Bangladesh, about 0.3 per cent of the population. The vast majority of people in the country are Muslims.

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