Pope Remains Silent on Rohingya in Myanmar Visit
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FEATURING EDITH MIRANTE – Pope Francis’s visit to Myanmar this week has been marked not by what he said but by what he didn’t say. The outspoken religious leader has condemned Myanmar’s brutal pogrom against the Rohingya Muslim minority in the past saying, “They have been suffering, they are being tortured and killed, simply because they uphold their Muslim faith.” But during his highly anticipated visit to Myanmar he did not mention the word ‘Rohingya.’
Leading up to the Pope’s visit the government of Myanmar had been in talks with neighboring Bangladesh where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have been fleeing to in order to escape the latest round of systematic violence, rape, and killing by Myanmar soldiers and others. The talks centered around a “repatriation” agreement that would allow the voluntary return of a hundred thousand Rohingya in exchange for Myanmar’s immunity from criminal prosecution.
Edith Mirante, Director of Project Maje, an independent information project on Burma/Myanmar human rights and environmental issues. Author of 2 books on Burma and most recent book “The Wind in the Bamboo: Journeys in Search of Asia’s ‘Negrito’ Indigenous Peoples.” She covered the 1990s Rohingya refugee exodus to Bangladesh.