- Inés San Martín
- Dec 17, 2017
Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon said Pope Francis will likely “encourage good steps” during his upcoming visit to Myanmar, and said that “as a Church, we want to affirm the intensity of human suffering” experienced by the Rohingya because “this problem has been there for last 60 years, and most intensely since 1982, when an unjust citizenship law passed.”
The Vatican has released Pope Francis’s schedule for his trip to Myanmar and Bangladesh later this year. Francis will visit Myanmar Nov. 27-30, before heading to neighboring Bangladesh Nov. 30-Dec. 2.
Rohingya Muslims do not have high hopes that the visit by Pope Francis to Myanmar and Bangladesh scheduled for Nov. 27-Dec. 2 will make any difference in Myanmar’s ongoing persecution of the Rohingya. Syed Alam, the imam of a mosque at a refugee camp, said the military and Buddhist nationalists need to “change their mindset” about Muslims before change can happen.
Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario, the Archbishop of Dhaka, is planning on visiting a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh on Sunday, and said Caritas Bangladesh – the main tool for the Catholic Church’s humanitarian outreach in the country – is waiting for permission from the government to go to the area. Nearly half of Myanmar’s million Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh, after facing increased attacks from the military and Buddhist mobs.
Though the detailed program hasn’t been made public yet, according to a Vatican statement announcing the trips, the dates will be Nov. 27-30 to Myanmar and Nov.30-Dec. 2 to Bangladesh. In Myanmar, the pope will visit the cities of Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw, while in Bangladesh only its capital, Dhaka.
Founded in 1991, Burma Campaign UK is one of the leading international organizations seeking reform in the country. Its director Mark Farmaner says Pope Francis is likely to face a challenging time when he visits Burma, also known as Myanmar, in a trip which is expected in late November. The pope has spoken up many times to protest the treatment of the Rohingya, a minority Muslim population facing persecution in the country.