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The pope followed the advice not to refer directly to the Rohingya minority, but under the eyes of the State Councilor, Aung San Suu Kyi, asked for the respect of each ethnic group that “feels like a home the country.”
On the second day of his trip to Burma (Myanmar), Francisco traveled to the new capital Naipydo, a ghastly city in the middle of nowhere, to meet with President Htin Kyaw, and the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and de facto leader of the Government, Suu Kyi.
In the International Convention Center, the Pope said that “the future of Myanmar must be peace, a peace based on respect for the dignity and rights of each member of society, respect for each ethnic group and its identity”.
Atrocities against the Rohinyá civilian population
There were no words about the exodus of the 620,000 Rohingya to Bangladesh and the atrocities committed by the Army, as the survivors say, but the appeal of Francisco to “respect for the rule of law and a democratic order that allows each individual and each group – without excluding anyone – offer their legitimate contribution to the common good “.
In a country where Buddhism is almost a state religion, he added that “religious differences should not be a source of division and distrust, but rather an impulse for unity, forgiveness, tolerance and a wise construction of the nation. ”
“Religions must build bridges of dialogue”
Jorge Bergoglio indicated that religions “can also contribute to eradicating the causes of conflict, building bridges of dialogue, seeking justice and being a prophetic voice in favor of those who suffer.”
The Pope recalled that in Myanmar it has suffered and continues to suffer “because of the civil conflicts and hostilities that for too long have created deep divisions.”
Bergoglio cited the example of the celebration of the Panglong Peace Conference, promoted by Suu Kyi, which brings together representatives of the various groups and stressed that it has “the objective of ending violence, generating trust and guaranteeing respect for the rights of those who consider this land their home. ”
Suu Kyi: “Your understanding makes us strong”
But he warned that “national reconciliation can only advance through commitment to justice and respect for human rights.”
“Their understanding of our need for peace, national reconciliation and social harmony gives us hope and makes us strong,” the Burmese leader told the pontiff.
Francisco concluded the day with a tweet and another clear message: “I hope that my visit can embrace the entire population of Myanmar and encourage the construction of a reconciled and inclusive society.”