Pope tiptoes around Rohingya crisis in Myanmar address
Pope Francis called for respect for rights and justice in a keenly watched address in Myanmar yesterday, but refrained from any mention of the Rohingya
Pope Francis called for respect for rights and justice in a keenly watched address in Myanmar yesterday, but refrained from any mention of the Rohingya, or allegations of ethnic cleansing that has driven huge numbers of the Muslim minority from the country. Sharing a stage with Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi in the capital Naypyidaw, he did not address the Rohingya crisis head-on, instead tip-toeing around the unfolding humanitarian emergency. Peace can only be achieved through "justice and a respect for human rights", he said in a broadly framed speech that also called for "respect for each ethnic group and its identity".
Pope Francis and Aung San Suu Kyi. Pic/AFP
The word "Rohingya", an incendiary term in a mainly Buddhist country where the Muslim minority are denied citizenship and branded illegal "Bengali" immigrants, was entirely absent from his speech. Francis has repeatedly defended the group. Suu Kyi only spoke of the challenges her country faces, but also did not reference the Rohingya. Her short speech only gave a nod to the global concern over the "situation in the Rakhine."
Aung San Suu Kyi has been stripped of the Freedom of Oxford award, after the Oxford City Council voted unanim-ously Monday night to remove the honour.