Pope Francis met the leader of the Burmese army as he started out per week-long journey to Burma and Bangladesh in which he is anticipated to talk out over the Rohingya refugee disaster.
Francis landed in Yangon on Monday afternoon on a visit originally planned to bolster the USA’s tiny Catholic minority but which human rights activists wish he’ll use to position diplomatic stress on Aung San Suu Kyi’s government over a violent navy crackdown against a minority Muslim group.
He met General Min Aung Hlaing, the effective head of the Tatmadaw, the Burmese army, for 15 mins at Yangon’s St Mary’s Cathedral. He will meet political and diplomatic leaders, such as Ms. Suu Kyi nowadays/TUES.
Greg Burke, a Vatican spokesman, said: “They observed the notable responsibility of the government of the united states of America on this second of transition.”
He said Francis supplied the overall with a commemorative medal of his visit, and Min Aung Hlaing gave the pope a harp in the form of a ship and an ornate rice bowl.
People cheer as they watch for Pope Francis to drive past following his arrival in Yangon
People cheer as they watch for Pope Francis to pressure past following his arrival in Yangon CREDIT: MYAT THU/ AFP
The well-known said in a statement on his Facebook web page that he told the pope there has been “no religious discrimination” inside the Buddhist majority united states.
“Myanmar has no nonsecular discrimination at all,” he stated in a Facebook put up via his office. “Likewise our military too… Performs for the peace and stability of the USA.”
A military crackdown towards the Muslim minority in Burma’s northwestern Rakhine nation has sent extra than 620,000 people fleeing into neighboring Bangladesh due to the fact August.
Refugees have defined fleeing a scientific campaign of residence burnings, rape, and homicide via Burmese squaddies and civilian vigilantes who say they may be carrying out counterterrorist operations against a Rohingya rebel organization.
The United Nations and western governments have defined the campaign against the Rohingya Muslims as an instance of “textbook ethnic cleansing”.
Pope Francis has previously spoken out on the plight of the Rohingya, calling them “our brothers and sisters.”
Catholic nuns keep Vatican flags as they look ahead to Pope Francis to power past following his arrival in Yangon
Catholic nuns preserve Vatican flags as they watch for Pope Francis to drive beyond following his arrival in Yangon CREDIT: MYAT THU/ AFP
Speaking to a crowd of 30,000 humans in St Peter’s Square, rapidly before he left Rome, the pontiff stated: “I ask you to be with me in prayer so that, for those peoples, my presence is an indication of affinity and desire.
Pope Francis is predicted to fulfill a delegation of Rohingya Muslims in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, later inside the week.
Thousands of Burmese Catholics covered the roads as his’ motorcade made its manner from the town’s airport on Monday morning.
Pope Francis is greeted by means of youngsters in traditional clothing upon his arrival at Yangon International Airport
Pope Francis is greeted by using children in conventional apparel upon his arrival at Yangon International Airport CREDIT: AFP/ VINCENZO PINTO
There are an estimated seven hundred,000 Catholics in Burma, making up just over one percent of u. S. A .’s fifty-one million humans.
Around 2 hundred,000 Catholics are expected to arrive in Yangon, Myanmar’s business capital, ahead of a large open-air mass on Wednesday.
People collect out of doors the residence of Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon, in which Pope Francis can be staying at some point of his go to in Yangon
People gather out of doors the residence of Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon, in which Pope Francis can be staying for the duration of his go to in Yangon CREDIT: JORGE SILVA/REUTERS
Mark Farmaner of the Burma Campaign UK, a human rights organization, welcomed Francis’s go to Burma, however, cautioned expectations were set “too high.”
“It changed into in no way going to be the case that the Pope goes to change the overall’s thoughts approximately the Rohingya,” he stated.