Pope greets Rohingya in Dhaka

Pope Francis addresses a group of Rohingya refugees in Dhaka, Bangladesh on Friday.

Pope Francis addresses a group of Rohingya refugees in Dhaka, Bangladesh on Friday.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

Uses the term for first time in his Asia trip, calls for action to end refugee crisis

Pope Francis met a group of Rohingya refugees in Dhaka on Friday and called for a “decisive international action” to end the refugee crisis. On a three-day visit to Bangladesh, the Catholic pontiff also used the term Rohingya in his speech, which he avoided in Myanmar.

“The presence of God today is also called Rohingya,” the Pope said after meeting 16 refugees who were brought to Dhaka from the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar near Myanmar border. More than 6,00,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar’s violence-hit Rakhine state to the neibouring Bangladesh over the past three months. Recently, Bangladesh and Myanmar had signed a repatriation agreement to return the Rohingya to Myanmar.

Safe repatriation

The Pope also prayed for the “safe repatriation of the Rohingya in peace and dignity”.

The pontiff arrived in Dhaka on Thursday from Myanmar.

The Rohingya families met him at an inter-religious gathering in a church in Dhaka’s Kakrail.

“We have realised that your suffering is very deep. We all want peace,” he told them. A special prayer for Rohingya was also held in the church following the meeting.

Earlier in the day, the Pope held an open-air mass at Dhaka’s sprawling Suhrawardy Udyan, which an estimated 80,000 people attended. Catholics have travelled to the Bangladeshi capital from around the country to have a glimpse of the Pope, who is the first Roman Catholic Church head to visit Bangladesh in 30 years, where Christians are a minority.

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Printable version | Mar 24, 2020 11:26:35 PM |

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