Pope in Burma: Peace requires justice, respect for human rights: In a major speech in Burma, Pope Francis told the nation's leaders to leave conflict behind and work for peace by promoting justice and respect for the rights of all citizens, regardless of Pope told Burmese civil authorities Nov. 28.
Speaking from the capital of Yangon on the first full day of a six-day visit to Burma and Bangladesh, Francis noted how justice is historically understood as “a steadfast will to give each person his due,” and is often viewed as “the basis of all true and lasting peace.”
This understanding is what, after the experience of two world wars, led to the formation of the United Nations and their subsequent declaration on human rights as the foundation for global efforts to promote justice, peace and human development, and to resolve conflict through dialogue, “not the use of force.”
With a past marred by internal conflict and a present filled with ongoing political tensions, Pope Francis said the future of Burma “must be peace.” This peace, he said, must be “based on respect for the dignity and rights of each member of society,” as well as respect “for each ethnic group and its identity.”
It must also be founded on a keen respect “for the rule of law, and respect for a democratic order that enables each individual and every group – none excluded – to offer its legitimate contribution to the common good.”
Pope Francis landed in Yangon Nov. 27 for the first phase of his third tour of Asia, which will take him to both Burma – also called Myanmar – and Bangladesh. He will be in Burma Nov. 27-30, and will visit two cities before moving on to Dhaka, Bangladesh, where he will stay Nov. 30-Dec. 2.
His visit to Burma, in particular, is significant not only because the country has a small Christian minority, but also due to a contentious political situation that has roots in both a recent regime change and an ongoing crisis over their minority Rohingya Muslim population.Francis' visit comes amid a spike in state-supported violence against the Rohingya, the largely Muslim ethnic group who reside in Burma's Rakhine State. The staggering scope of the crisis has prompted the U.N. to declare the situation “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”religion or ethnicity.