Vatican City, Aug 28 (IANS) Pope Francis is slated to visit Myanmar and Bangladesh between November 27 and December 2, where the Rohingya Muslim minority is suffering extreme persecution, the Vatican press office said on Monday.
The Pope will be in Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw in Myanmar from November 27 to 30, before visiting Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka, where he will conclude the trip on December 2, Efe news reported.
The Pope’s first visit to Myanmar, which is also the first papal visit to the country, comes at a time of worsening conflict and clashes in the state of Rakhine.
In May, the Pontiff received the de facto head of the Myanmar government and Nobel laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, at the Vatican, in a meeting that also marked the beginning of bilateral diplomatic relations.
Pope Francis’ visit to Bangladesh will be the second papal visit after John Paul II in 1986.
Bangladesh is a Muslim-majority country, while Myanmar is dominantly Buddhist, with Christians occupying a very small percentage of the population.
Archbishop of Dhaka, Patrick D’Rozario, and Archbishop of Yangon, Charles Bo, were made the first two cardinals in the history of the two countries.
The motto of the Bangladesh trip is “Harmony and Peace”, while that of Myanmar is “Love and Peace”, the Vatican said.
In addition to advocating for inter-religious dialogue, Pope Francis will pay attention to the Rohingyas’ plight in Myanmar as they are considered illegal immigrants and face multiple restrictions, including freedom of movement.
More than a million Rohingyas live in Rakhine state where an outbreak of sectarian violence in 2012 left at least 160 dead and some 120,000 confined in 67 camps for displaced people.
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