Pope arrives in Bangladesh, praises country’s welcome of Rohingya
The government and people of Bangladesh have shown exemplary generosity in welcoming hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, despite great demands placed on already limited resources, Pope Francis said.
Arriving in Bangladesh from Myanmar on Thursday 30th November, Pope Francis wasted no time in mentioning the plight of the refugees who have been a source of concern for him for more than two years.
While he spoke diplomatically in Myanmar about the obligation to protect the rights of all people and ethnic groups, he was more specific in Bangladesh, referring to the “massive influx of refugees from Rakhine state” in Myanmar. He did not, however, use the word “Rohingya,” which is how the refugees identify themselves.
Providing shelter and basic necessities to the refugees “has been done at no little sacrifice,” the pope said.
The eyes of the world have watched Bangladesh take the refugees in, he said, but clearly the situation is still dire.
“None of us can fail to be aware of the gravity of the situation, the immense toll of human suffering involved, and the precarious living conditions of so many of our brothers and sisters, a majority of whom are women and children, crowded in the refugee camps,” he said.
Picture: Pope Francis walks with an honour guard as he arrives at the international airport in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Thursday 30th November. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).