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教宗被批闭口不提罗兴亚人问题 Pontiff slammed by for not publicly addressing Muslim Rohingya refugee crisis









Pope Francis has arrived in Bangladesh after a four-day visit to neighboring Myanmar, a trip marked by his refusal to publicly address the Muslim Rohingya refugee crisis.

The pontiff departed Myanmar Thursday after celebrating a final Mass for young Catholics in Yangon, the country's largest city and its former capital.

Francis has been criticized by human rights activists for not specifically mentioning the Rohingyas, a minority ethnic group that has been denied basic rights for decades in the majority Buddhist-majority Myanmar, which views them as immigrants from Bangladesh, despite the fact that many families have lived in Myanmar for generations.

Their situation has worsened since August, when the military launched a scorched earth campaign against Rohingya villages in northern Rakhine state in response to attacks on Myanmar police outposts on Rohingya militants. The brutal campaign, including reports of mass rapes and indiscriminate killings, triggered a mass exodus of more than 620,000 Rohingyas into Bangladesh, which the United Nations has described as "a textbook example of ethnic cleansing."

The pope has denounced the treatment of the Rohingyas in previous public remarks, but his advisers counseled him not to speak about the issue while in Myanmar, for fear of a backlash against the 650,000 Catholics in the country.

Myanmar Bishop John Hsane Hgyi went even further Wednesday, casting doubt about the reported atrocities against the Rohingyas, and urging critics of the Myanmar government to go to the scene "to study the reality and history" of the issue and learn the truth.

A Vatican spokesman said Wednesday that Pope Francis has not lost his "moral authority" on the issue, and suggested he may have been far more direct during his private talks with de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and powerful military chief Min Aung Hlaing.

Pope Francis is expected to meet with a group of Rohingya refugees during his stay in Bangladesh.