Pope for decisive int’l step over Rohingya crisis

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Dhaka, November 30: Pope Francis today said the international community must take “decisive measures” to address the Rohingya crisis taking into account the “gravity of the situation” as he joined a civic reception hosted by President Abdul Hamid at Bangabhaban on Thursday evening.“It is imperative that the international community take decisive measures to address this grave crisis,” he said preferring to avoid using the word “Rohingya”.

He said the international community should do it by not only by working to resolve the political issues that have led to the mass displacement of people, but also by offering immediate material assistance to Bangladesh in its effort to respond effectively to urgent human needs.

“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,” the Pope said.

The Pope’s comments came hours after his arrival in Dhaka to a red carpet reception for a three-day visit after he wrapped up his Myanmar tour sending out a message that justice and human rights is the foundation of peace in an apparent reference to Rohingya crisis.

Pope Francis appreciated Bangladesh stance in providing refuge to tens of thousands of forcibly displaced people saying “this has been done at no little sacrifice (and) It has also been done before the eyes of the whole world”.

“The spirit of generosity and solidarity which is a distinguishing mark of Bangladeshi society has been seen most vividly in its humanitarian outreach to a massive influx of refugees from Rakhine State, providing them with temporary shelter and the basic necessities of life.

Welcoming the Catholic community’s chief priest at the presidential palace, President M Abdul Hamid expected his stance against brutalities to resolve the Rohingya crisis ensuring their “full rights” by morally obligating the international community to take prompt and sincere actions.

“The very commendable position of Your Holiness has taken in favour of the distressed Rohingyas and your passionate voice against such brutality, raises hope for resolving the crisis,” he said.

Abdul Hamid added: “Your closeness to them, your call for helping them and to ensure their full rights provide moral responsibility to the international community to act with promptness and sincerity.”

Francis earlier strongly condemned the “persecution of our Rohingya brothers,” denounced their suffering because of their faith and called for them to receive “full rights”.

Earlier, Pope Francis, the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, arrived at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka on Thursday afternoon on a three-day state visit.

A 21-gun salute heralded the arrival of the 80-year-old Pope Francis when he alighted from a VVIP flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines in Dhaka, wrapping up his three-day Myanmar visit, at around at 3:05pm.

President M Abdul Hamid received the Pope near the VVIP Tarmac of the airport, while two tiny tots presented him a bouquet.