New Delhi (Sputnik) — Pope Francis has made a direct appeal to the civilian leadership in Myanmar to ensure justice for all ethnic groups irrespective of who they are. The Pope, who is currently visiting the South Asian country in his capacity as the head of the Vatican, made the appeal after a crucial meeting with Myanmar’s State Councilor and topmost civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday in the capital Naypyitaw.
Meanwhile, Aung San Sun Kyi, in her reply to the Pope’s appeal said that her government was steadfastly working towards ensuring justice for all.
“Of the many challenges that our government has been facing, the situation in the Rakhine has most strongly captured the attention of the world,” Suu Kyi said in her official welcome speech after meeting with the Pope privately.
Experts say that the speeches by the Pope as well as Suu Kyi were in the right spirit but do not guarantee a change in the ground situation.
“The humanitarian disaster created in Rakhine state is unmatched in recent world history. Such comments by a spiritual leader of the stature of the Pope definitely create a moral pressure on the Myanmar government. But now the point is who is listening. Will it change the situation on the ground and the appeal for forgiveness must apply to everyone including the Myanmar government,” Dr Alwar Hossain, Professor of International Relations at the University of Dhaka told Sputnik.
Nevertheless, the Pope’s appeal and the response it garnered were hailed as a welcome attempt by a world leader to foster peace and unity in the strife-ridden country.
Pope Francis on Wednesday led a common mass or Catholic worship in Yangon’s Kyaikkasan Ground.
“The address of the Pope in the Mass was focused on forgiveness and giving up on the sense of revenge. He said to strive for revenge is a temptation which must be resisted and instead, forgiveness must be the priority,” Kallivayalil told Sputnik.
Around 150,000 participants including those hailing from neighboring Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and many other South East Asian countries attended the Holy Mass led by the Pope, according to local reports. The Catholic community in Myanmar is just above one percent of the total population.
In the second leg of his tour, Pope Francis is leaving for Dhaka on Thursday where he is slated to meet Rohingya refugees and also hold a mass for the faithful.